KEARNEY — Kearney residents and business operators will begin paying a special utility fee in April so the city of Kearney can cover its costs complying with a federal Environmental Protection Agency storm water management mandate.
The surcharge will be $1 per month for residential properties and $3 per month for commercial properties — enough to generate about $200,000 annually, according to a memo to the Kearney City Council from Director of Finance Wendell Wessels.
In addition to establishing the surcharges for utilities customers, the ordinance the City Council will consider Tuesday will establish a Storm Water Utility. It will be necessary, according to Wessels, to assist the city in its responsibility for the operation, construction, maintenance and repair of storm water drainage system facilities.
The utility will see that adequate systems to collect, convey, detain and treat storm water are present to reduce potential hazards to property and life resulting from storm water runoff. The aim of the EPA mandate, according to Wessels’ memo, is improving general health and welfare by reducing undesirable storm water conditions and improving the water quality in storm and surface waters.
The council laid the groundwork for the new Storm Water Utility in September by authorizing the mayor to enter into an administrative order for compliance with the EPA’s storm water mandate.
At that time, city leaders anticipated that complying with the EPA rules would create some expenses, so the new $1 and $3 monthly surcharges will cover them.
The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at city hall at 18 E. 22nd St.