From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):
Greeley residents will pay an average of 39 cents more per month in stormwater fees next year, thanks to a 7 percent hike that must be approved by the city council each year.
Even so, the city is about $50.4 million behind in stormwater projects that need attention, said Joel Hemesath, director of Greeley Public Works. Part of the backlog is because the city didn’t implement a stormwater fee until 2002, so stormwater for a time was competing for funding against other infrastructure needs.
When the city began the stormwater fee, officials intended to raise rates by 7 percent each year, but rates were frozen in 2010 and ’11 because of the recession, Hemesath said.
The average fee for residential customers next year will rise from about $5.61 per month to $6 per month. The average for commercial users will rise by $10.95 to $167.06 per month, and industrial users will pay $8.63 more, at $131.94 per month.
The increase brings Greeley’s residential stormwater rates on par with Adams County, with the city roughly in the middle when comparing what residents pay other governments, according to Public Works data.
Residents in Pueblo pay an average of $6.25 per month, and Loveland residents pay about $10.39 per month. Arvada residents pay about $4.30 per month, and residents of Littleton pay about $2.50 per month.
The increase will garner an additional $263,000 to help pay for a second crew of stormwater workers to be hired by the city next year, an additional stormwater engineer and the cost of the maintenance work they will do on detention ponds and stormwater pipes, Hemesath said.
He said the salaries of the new employees are also helped by a bolstered 2014 budget, which Greeley officials increased due to an expected rise in revenue.
The additional crew will be available to work on the $800,000 worth of projects budgeted in the stormwater fund next year. They will work to design a project to upsize existing stormwater pipes from Sanborn Park down to the Poudre River, install a stormwater pipe before crews begin construction on East 20th Street, and install some filters that clean collected stormwater before it’s released back into the river.
Ten projects, scheduled for 2015-22, are budgeted at $15.7 million, with the actual construction of the Sanborn Park to Poudre project at a cost of $9.6 million. That doesn’t count the 14 unfunded projects that total $50.4 million, bringing Greeley’s total future capital improvement needs in coming years to $75.9 million.