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Proposed stormwater utility fee could speed up needed projects in Jefferson City

Thursday, the Jefferson City Public Works and Planning Committee is set to take a look at how a proposed stormwater utility fee could lead to needed improvements in another area of the city.

ABC 17 News has reported residents may vote in August on implementing a monthly fee.

The proposed fee would be about $3.50 a month for a single-family household and is estimated to generate about $2 million a year.

Last month, the city staff did a case study on how funds generated by the fee could fix persistent flooding issues in the area of Stadium and Satinwood.

This month, the staff did another case study on stormwater issues in the northwest part of town around Memorial Park.

“It’s an older area of town,” said Matt Morasch, the Jefferson City public works director. “Many homes were either built in the ’50s or even some prior to that, many prior to that, actually. So you know- the development standards were much different then. However, we do receive a lot of complaints in those areas.”

The area could use about $7 million worth of stormwater infrastructure maintenance and improvements, according to Morasch.

That would include $3.45 million to replace 11,500 feet of drainage system, more than $3.42 million to complete five stormwater enhancements in the master plan and $128,000 to restore and improve drainage ways throughout the watershed.

With the city’s current stormwater budget of $360,000 a year, the city has only done three capital improvement projects in the area over the past 15 years.

That included a $220,000 project to fix a massive sinkhole near the intersection of Forest Drive and Forest Hill Avenue. It took more than a year to start repairs on the collapsed pipe, which shut down the road, because the city had to wait for funds to become available through the half-cent sales tax.

“We call it the shotgun approach,” Morasch said. “You know, there’s little projects scattered all about but no real systematic replacement in the area. And so, if we could get to a better, more reliable plan funding source, you could be much more systematic and do better improvements even.”

The City Council has yet to officially put the proposed fee on the August ballot.

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