Storm drain fee could be in city's future - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Storm drain fee could be in city's future

With the Memphis city budget drowning in shortfalls, one city leader has a plan to raise money. It doesn't involve property taxes, but it will cost you in the short term.

It's a fee to raise millions of dollars to fix drainage problems around the city. If the city council buys in, it will show up on your MLGW bill next year.

Memphis Public Works Director Jerry Collins is thinking outside the box. He's proposing a new storm water fee for Memphis residents and his timing couldn't be better. The week has brought bad budget news.

The Mayor says he has no confidence in budget projections.

He's brought in two new finance administrators. On Thursday, one of them, Robert Lipscomb, indicated that even the current budget will need re-examining.

Darrell Phillips: "Doesn't that translate into another possible tax increase once the budget? "

Robert Lipscomb: "Not necessarily, not necessarily."

DP: "But is it possible?"

Lipscomb: "no."

Tajuan Stout Mitchell: "It is possible that we could look at alternative revenue sources."

That's where Collins comes in. He's pitching a fee that would show up on your monthly MLGW bill.

It will help the city alleviate flooding in problem areas - part of an eight year plan - on time.

And Collins says, it will offset $10 to 15 million in property taxes every year for five years.

"It's based on the size of your house and how much driveway and hard surface that you have on your property," he says.

The average homeowner will pay $3.35 a month. A large single family home-owner will pay $5.09 a month.

"There are many entities across the city that don't pay property taxes. With the storm water fee, everybody pays their fair share regardless. Everybody pays their fair share," said Collins.

The City Council will hear the first reading of this plan at their next meeting. If they vote it through, it will show up on your utility bills July 1st of next year.

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