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City Council Ponders Storm Water Fee, Possible Takeover

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 268

galesburgAn additional fee could soon be applied to resident water bills if a proposal under investigation is approved.

The Galesburg City Council reviewed the matter during a special work session meeting, last night.

Currently, the City is struggling to make ends meet when it comes to maintaining the current storm water utility system.

To offset these costs, single family homeowners could see an additional $4.35 per month attached to their water bill. Larger landowners would see larger increases, including the government.

Fifth Ward Alderman Peter Schwartzman says residents recognize the service is currently being paid for with funds from other pots.

“Though the people know that, I think people have trouble recognize what would happen if we didn’t do storm water abatement,” says Schwartzman.

The matter still needs to go through several phases of implementation through the remainder of the year.

Upon completion of the research by AMEC Consulting, the City Council would develop a billing system, possible credits or incentives, and finalize a program rate.

First Ward Alderman Ken Goad says that to some residents, it could be a bit of a cost burden.

“I think we need to be really careful,” says Goad.

Part and parcel with the possible application of a fee, the City of Galesburg may soon suggest taking over the entire operation of the storm water utility system.

Currently, the system is split between the City and the Galesburg Sanitary District. By putting the system under one manager, it would reduce confusion and redundancy while potentially increasing revenue for the City.

City Manager Todd Thompson says that having the city manage the entire system could be more advantageous than going the other direction.

“Some of the storm water utility system is intricately linked to the transportation system, you know, gutter ditches and things like that so I think if you give up the storm water to them, you might have complications down the road when you’re trying to do projects,” says Thompson.

No action was taken on the matter with a more comprehensive recommendation expected later this year.

The program fee, at this point, may be implemented in the first quarter of 2015.