Paying for Stormwater in Jackson

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Up until now stormwater has been a drain on Jackson's general and street funds.

"We have not been able to maintain some of the streets as well as we'd like to. There are many in poor condition," said City Engineer Jon Dowling.

But soon Jackson citizens and businesses will pay a city stormwater utility bill to offset stormwater costs. Single-family homes will pay $8 a quarter. Businesses will pay a monthy fee depending on property size.

"In this day and age it's hard to have any increased fees especially when you don't see a service in return," said Mindy Bradish-Orta, president and CEO of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

The fee could range from a couple bucks to more than a thousand a month.

"Even your larger stores like the malls that are gonna pay $1,000 a month or the hospital that will have to pay $1,000 a month," Bradish-Orta said, "That will just get passed on to the consumer."

The Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity sits on five acres, so it'll pay around $2,200 a year, according to estimates the city gave the non-profit's executive director Kevin Dowd.

"At some point in time these fees add up and it's gonna be the differnce between building four homes and five," said Dowd.

The affordable housing provider would prefer a gradual rather than sudden fee increase.

"Because things are so difficult right now for a start-up business and ongoing businesses it doesn't make sense to hit us with the fees right away," he added.

Some businesses feel this is a tax they never got to vote on. The city engineer says a tax would have exempted the hospital and non-profits like Habitat for Humanity -- properties the city can't afford not to charge because of their size and the amount of stormwater that runs off their parking lots.

City officials will hold an informational meeting about this on April 13 the City Council Chambers. It starts at 6 p.m.

There are ways businesses can offset these fees. One way is to have a runoff detention pond. These options will also be discussed at that meeting.


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