Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Washout: Norman Schedules Special Meeting after Failure to Agree on Stormwater Proposal

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Washout: Norman Schedules Special Meeting after Failure to Agree on Stormwater Proposal

Article excerpt

NORMAN - Vernon McKown said he supports the concept of Norman's proposed stormwater utility fee, but that city officials don't quite have a proposal that is likely to gain wide support. The residential developer and co-owner of Ideal Homes said he would prefer a simpler structure with three categories for businesses.

City councilors did not vote on a proposed fee structure Tuesday but scheduled a special meeting for June 7. That gives them more time to come up with a consensus and get a measure on the Aug. 23 ballot, said Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary. Norman residents must approve any utility fee increases.

The new stormwater water fee would help the Public Works department better control flooding by repairing and maintaining creeks and storm channels. It would also help cover the cost of enforcing local ordinances aimed at reducing fertilizer and red clay that rainwater carries to Lake Thunderbird.

O'Leary must cut pollution flowing from construction sites and from storm drains to the reservoir, which supplies about half the city's raw water. Creating a new utility fee is one way to show state and federal regulators he's doing what's required under national clean water standards. He faces a $10,000-per-day fine if his efforts don't satisfy environmental officials.

Norman's new stormwater fee would add monthly charges to utility bills based on how much impervious surface a development has, such as the combined square footage from a sidewalk, parking lot, driveway or a roof.

The first two proposals had tiers based on rates for an equivalent residential unit, about 3,600 square feet of impervious space. The first plan created tiers for residential developments based on size and a single rate for nonresidential and multifamily properties. The second plan established tiers for all developments.

O'Leary's staff and city councilors are considering changes to a third proposed rate structure, after the first two didn't gain traction. …

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