By Patty Montagno
Members of the Sachse City Council received a status report regarding drainage issues throughout the city.
“The city has a diverse drainage system, including natural creeks and waterways, drainage channels, and underground storm systems,” he said. “The city maintains public drainage systems within the public right-of-way, and oversees the design and construction of drainage improvements associated with private development. At the June council meeting drainage policies were discussed. Per the feedback received staff prepared a discussion item.”
Peters explained that Ordinance 1733 defines the responsibility of property owners regarding the maintenance of drainage easements and drainage facilities on private property. Currently, it is the responsibility of property owners to maintain drainage facilities that traverse private property.
“In new residential developments, drainage systems are commonly placed within either a drainage easement or a lot owned by the homeowner’s association,” he said. “In these instances, the HOA is responsible for the maintenance of the drainage facilities as shown on the final recorded plat for the subdivision.”
Historically, drainage improvement projects have been completed by the city as approved by the city council and included in the Capital Improvement Plan. Finance Director Teresa Savage explained that the General Fund is the primary funding source for the city and is utilized for a wide range of city expenses, including supplies and materials, maintenance, contract work, equipment and personnel.
Peters said a Stormwater Utility Fund is a fund that could be established for the operation, maintenance, improvement and expansion of public drainage systems.
“The funds are dedicated specifically for drainage projects and functions, and cannot be used for other activities in the city,” he said. “The fund operates similar to the water and sanitary sewer utility funds that the city already has in place.”
According to Peters, many cities in the region have that type of fund established.
“For residential properties, the fee is typically a flat rate,” he said. “For non-residential properties, the fee may be either a flat rate, or a sliding scale based upon the amount of impervious area such as concrete, or a building. In a 2012 survey, the median residential stormwater utility fee was found to be $3.80 per month.”
Peters cautioned the council that in order to establish a stormwater utility fund, a rate study must be completed to establish the obligations of the utility, and the subsequent rate. City council approval is also required.
It was determined that the cost of a determination study would range from $80,000 to $180,000 depending on the level of the study.
After discussion staff was directed to include the cost of the study in the list of possible supplemental budget items to be considered in the 2015-’16 budget discussions.