CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Council had their first discussion and vote about a change to the storm water fee by separating it from your water utility bill. If it becomes separated, the fee will be becomes a part of the Drainage Utility Fund. The first vote passed in city council on Tuesday, getting it one step closer to becoming new city ordinance.
City manager Peter Zanoni said the fund will have Corpus Christi join other major Texas cities that have a separate storm water fees.
How you will be charged is based on the square footage of impervious area you have, or the land that doesn’t have water seep into the ground. There’s a three tier system on what people will be charged, but Zanoni said the fee people see now, is what they will see in the first year. It would slightly increase the next four years.
Less than 3,000 sq. ft. would pay $4.59 next year. Those who have 3,000 to 4,500 sq. ft. would pay $6.12. Anyone who has over 4,500 sq. ft. would pay $10.71.
“Right around the Fourth of July, that flooding across the city really shouldn’t be happening here in our city," said Zanoni. "And so we’ll be able to do storm water prevention programs, better inlet maintenance, better ditch treatment so that when there is storm water, the flow will be much better.”
Zanoni said the goal is to get everyone to pay into the system; currently there are commercial and some residential properties not paying into it.
One resident has an issue with the ordinance as it states the city would be exempt.
“I'm a pretty firm believer if a government wants people to do something or pay something it should be willing to do so itself," resident David Lob said "And so, we should have a community conversation about it and talk about what’s a fair way to fund this. How do we spread the burden of funding it? And what are we going to use that money to pay for if we need to spend more money on it.”
Loeb asked why other funds can't be moved around to accommodate the needs of the storm water system. He says the city was under budget this year and has money untouched that was for the seawall.
"The city could have a public vote next year and reprogram a lot of that money to fund storm water," said Loeb. "So we could be able to improve our storm water system, but without actually increasing taxes anymore on people who are already paying."
For the ordinance to pass, it'll take a majority vote at city council's second reading on September 7. It would go into affect on January 1, 2022. Zanoni said it's a five year plan.