amending the West Jordan Municipal Code, Title 90, Chapter 3, establishing a
Stormwater Utility [Tom Steele] PH 6d.
"A Public Hearing will be held before the City of West Jordan City Council on Tuesday, November 14, 2006, at the hour of 6:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at 8000 South Redwood Road, Third Floor, West Jordan, Utah, for review and/or recommendation of the proposed
amendment to the West Jordan Municipal Code, Title 90, Chapter 3, establishing a Stormwater Utility. multimaster tool You are invited to attend the Public Hearing and take part in the discussions and voice any support or concerns you may have. If you desire to speak on an item, the time will be limited to 3 minutes. Items may be moved on the agenda or tabled by the City Council. Copies of the agenda packet for this meeting will be available at the West Jordan libraries and on the City's website www.wjordan.com approximately 4 days prior to the meeting."
What is missing from this announcement: A Stormwater Utility Fee of $36 a year will be imposed on all residents and thousnds of dollars to businesses. And also missing is the state law on public notifictaion relaative to fee/tax incresses should change, mandating any increase in fee from cities be publicized in detail.
A participant on the West Jordan discussion list writes in his analysis of this fee proposal sears credit card:
What is the Rain Tax or Gutter Tax?
Fee/tax on Mother Nature generated rain that runs off your property to city storm drain pipes that you already paid for by the impact fee on your home when it was first built.
It is important to understand this is NOT sewer, with the sewer you generate waste and there is a requirement to clean that water, those fee are necessary. This is the storm drain pipes which are separate form sewer pipes that take the rain water that hits your roof rolls down your
driveway into the gutter and directed to the Jordan River. You have no personal responsibility in generating the pollution that it might encounter in it's travels from your roof to the river.
Below is the breakdown of cost of the 1.6 million dollar fee/tax proposed.
Here are some examples of a business, school, and church fees:
- LDS Church (7000 S 2700 W) $1934 per year
- Macey's Grocery Store $6,845 per year
- Jordan Hills Elementary $2715 per year
In my limited writing ability I will attempt to explain my opposition to this fee/tax.
Point #1: The existing storm drainage system is overloaded/Growth west of 4800 West is placing increasing demands on existing storm water facilities
Answer: If this is true and we can't fund the infrastructure why does the city council continually give waivers to businesses on paying their share of the storm drain infrastructure. City council has waived impact fees and now they find they are short on funds to pay for the growth. City council should never waive a fee or offer discounts for any development or construction proposed in the city. This impact fee is a requirement to pay for the infrastructure that their development will need for the services of the city sewer, water, and storm drain.
Currently we are the 2nd highest impact fee assed city in the state, where is the money going?
If there is evidence that proves the storm drain is overloaded and we have a shortfall we should slow the growth. If our system is overwhelmed we need to focus our resources that we do have and prioritize them to solve this problem instead of raising taxes/fees. Instead of raising
taxes/fees the proponent should stop spending on expenditures such as the re-landscape city hall, a responsible council would put the $350,000 spent on this blunder in to the storm drain infrastructure.
It comes down to economic responsibility, city government needs to prioritize and live with the revenue resources.
Point #2: Phase II NPDES permitting is required by state and federal law requires action by the city
Answer: This is an argument that affects our lives by many of the agencies of the federal government. NPDES is an unfunded mandate of the EPA. It's purpose is to help local governments clean up water pollution. The excuse in using the EPA's NPDES II standards here to raise our
fee/taxes violates the "Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995" which means unless the federal government pays they can't really mandate local governments to pay to compile. EPA is not telling us to raise fee/taxes or start a new city department, Phase II NPDES requirements are as
1. Reduce the discharge of Pollutants to the "maximum extent practicable"
2. Protect water Quality
3. Satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.
I have researched this and have hundred of documents from my friends in Pocatello that repelled this in their city. There is no requirement or mandate for a city to raise fees/taxes and start a new department in the city. In fact West Jordan has done many of the requirements to meet
these EPA recommendations. We have built a retention pond on 7800 south and Jordan River as retention of any pollutants that reach the river. The City regularly cleans catch basin in the system that trap pollutants before the pollutants ever reach the river and the city spends $607,367 in the budget on compliance with NPDES II. The State as you all have seen educates the public "don't pollute we all live downstream" awareness campaign. We already comply with this Phase II NPDES requirements. There are many more thing we can do and we should to keep
the water clean. But to do these requirements will not require a tax/fee increase and creation of a new city department.
Point #3: Failure to comply with the permitting requirements could result in costly penalties
Answer: I see no evidence that we don't compile and see no pressure from the EPA on West Jordan City or the State of Utah. This is a scare tactic that Lyle obviously believes. In fact on page 4 of the fact sheet on NPDES II the only penalty is a civil lawsuit of non compliance. This is not a issue since we are compiling and working with the state to keep water clean. I believe we should follow the recommendations of the EPA and clean our water and prevent pollution but not create a forever fee/tax to satisfy spending of a new city department.
Point #4: Capital improvement project needed to serve the needs of our population at build out is $48,764,000, $30,776,000 of this amount is for new development and will be funded primarily by impact fees, and $17,776,000 is for existing development and musts be funded through
issuance of debt.
Answer: Residents need to vote in new council members that will prioritize the spending of the city and study the budget and make sure that the storm drain expenditures are utilized in a efficient way. Short falls should not be answered with we need to raise your fees/taxes. A
responsible city council if faced with infrastructure short falls and growth will need to make tough decision to slow down the growth until the revenues justify the expenditures.
City Council should eliminate the impact fee waivers by ordinance and as we require all developments to pay their share of the storm drain infrastructure, I believe if we will have sufficient revenues to build our storm drain infrastructure and keep water clean without going into
When elected the team Haaga/Shaeffer/Sheen will be responsible and will find solutions to our growth other than raising taxes/fees. We will be educated on the budget and understand the debt and keep to the minimum any debt that is not mandatory. If the debt is left unchecked it will be
many years before we can pay for what we have barrowed. I believe what Thomas Fuller said: "Debt is the worst poverty" it is imperative we control how much debt we have for the benefit of the future of West Jordan City.