May 20, 2017 07:01

Sales Tax for Fixing Stormwater Problems

 The city of Sterling, Illinois, is asking voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to help pay for fixing stormwater problems. Currently, the city has a half-cent sales tax in place for fixing roads. Officials say doubling the tax to a full cent would help the city fix flooding problems.

The cost estimate to eliminate street flooding problems in Sterling is $10 million. “It’s everything from creating additional detention ponds, to holding back the water to keep it all from rushing to the creeks and the streams so quickly, to actually help sizing sewers and putting sewers in place where they don’t exist,” said Scott Shumard, city manager.

Some Sterling residents said they would vote for the sales tax.

Drainage District Bills for Projects to Control Runoff

The Grand Valley drainage district, in Grand Junction, Colorado, has mailed bills for projects it says are needed to control rainfall runoff. Most residents are being asked to pay $36, or $3 a month, while other property owners, such as businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations, are being billed $3 per month for each 2,500 square feet of impermeable surfaces, such as roofs, driveways and other structures that shed, rather than absorb, rainfall.

The district in 2016 billed 37,012 accounts more than $2.6 million, and collected more than $2.3 million from the 32,273 payers that responded, according to the district.

Notably absent from the list of payers was Mesa County, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Mesa University.

The county and chamber are suing the district in Mesa County district Court, contending that the bills amount to an illegal tax under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution. Officials of the university are studying the bills.

Also in Stormwater News

In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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