Urbana to make decision on storm water study

The decision on whether to approve the storm water utility feasibility study has yet to be voted on by the Urbana City Council.

This study, which is conducted by the city’s public works staff, is aimed to create a better management system for dealing with storm water after it rains.

According to its memorandum, the study will assess what the program needs, how much funding this project requires and how to generate the appropriate amount of funding. The paperwork outlining the ideas for this project is being presented to the city council before the study can actually take place.

The memorandum states that the study of the storm water runoff will estimate between $100,000 to $115,000, while the implementation of the plan will cost between $65,000 to $85,000. The funding for the study will most likely come from the sewer benefit tax fund.

“The basic idea is that the storm water drain system is a pretty big investment,” said David Gehrig, Ward 2. “We have to face the fact that some of this stuff is getting to be 50 years old. We need to start planning for the kind of maintenance that we are going to end up needing.”

The study would take about two years to complete, he said. The feasibility study itself should begin within the next six months, but it is not yet settled.

“It’s a way of gaining revenue and improving the overall sustainability of the community,” said Robert Lewis, Ward 3.

Lewis said he thinks that this management project will be funded through a tax for Urbana residents based on how much storm water runoff each house generates. A factory with a big parking lot that creates a significant amount of storm water runoff will attain a higher tax since there is a lack of green space.

Diane Marlin, Ward 7, said that she agrees that the city needs a “dedicated source of revenue” to fund this project. She also added that this proposed plan would be beneficial for Urbana and its residents.

“The streets aren’t free, and what’s under them isn’t free either,” she said. “It makes sense that people who benefit from the service help pay for it.”