The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 30, 2014

Study discusses long-term sewer plan

By Brenden West
Clinton Herald

CLINTON — UPDATE: The stormwater utility report has been removed from Tuesday's agenda. No report on when the topic will reappear before the city.

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A study that was going to be presented to the Clinton City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Tuesday estimates $80 million in capital improvement projects are needed for the city of Clinton by 2037.

According to the study, conducted by Strand & Associates, several sources of funding have been identified through Fiscal Year 2018 (two years from now). But that still leaves roughly $45 million needed in the control plan beyond those years.

The study also said: “Continued funding with sewer fee revenue would result in significant rate hikes that likely would not be palatable to sewer ratepayers.”

The city council hired Strand & Associates in July 2013. The group initiated the study between November and February and is ready to present “Phase I” to the council. During Tuesday’s meeting, the council may direct the company to complete the work it started, which includes implementing a stormwater utility.

Clinton uses the user fee and local option sales tax revenues to cover stormwater management. The study reports that user fee rates increased 9.5 percent in 2013 in line with recent years.

However, “Continued substantial sewer rate increases are unlikely to be implemented,” while at the same time “sufficient” LOST revenue won’t be available to cover future long-term projects. The study highlighted eight projects already planned for by the city costing an estimated $41.802 million. The most expensive of these was the $15.05 million budgeted for the 25th Avenue Pump Station replacement; $14.5 million was budget in FY14.

The study projects $40 million will be needed to cover the Basin 6 combined sewer overflow.

Also highlighted are potential funding options for the future, including raised property taxes.

However, “property taxes may not be an equitable means of recovering stormwater management system costs,” the study said. Impact fees (assessed to developers) and special assessments (project-to-project funding generated regionally) also were listed.

The study also presents three stormwater utility rate options for the council to mull.

On Tuesday, the council will also:

Discuss a renewed lease agreement with the Symphony of Lights.

Discuss a senior ride program with Municipal Transit Administration Director Dennis Hart. The program would allow seniors free rides on the bus system for a longer block of time. Currently, they ride free from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Discuss a joint jurisdictional venture with the city of Low Moor over rehabilitating 44th Avenue South. Clinton would act as the lead agency for the project with Low Moor reimbursing the city for the upgrade. The street is located south of the Lincolnway Industrial Railpark, currently a gravel road.