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Langley moving ahead on stormwater rate increase proposal
LANGLEY — The city of Langley is inching forward on changing how it handles stormwater and how to pay for it.
The city council at its meeting Monday night scheduled a public hearing at its next regular meeting May 4 for a first reading of the proposal.
“The city hasn’t been responsive to its own budget,” Mayor Paul Samuelson said. “This is a big deal.”
At issue is a $115,000-per-year shortfall in annual stormwater management that is being subsidized by the roads department budget.
A report commissioned by the city said Langley collects $25,000 per year from existing stormwater rates, well below actual annual expenses of $140,000.
The same stormwater rate structure has been in place since 1994.
The residential rate would have to be raised from the current $2.90 per month to $13.49 just to break even, with no money for improvements.
The report suggests gradually raising the residential fee to support and improve the stormwater system from the current $2.90 per household per month to $22.10 by 2014.
Over six years, the annual residential rate would increase in increments from $34.80 to $265.20.
The increase would help make up the annual deficit for maintenance, operation and debt service of the current system, and to help finance $2.3 million in expansion and improvements over 20 years.
Samuelson said that although the city faces different circumstances from Glendale, the small beach community near Clinton that was flooded because of a burst beaver dam and a washed-out roadway, “it’s better to be penny wise than pound foolish.”
“We have a lot of water running underneath our city,” he said.
Samuelson said the next step in the process would involve council consideration of the plan without a commitment to specific projects or rate levels.
He urged residents to continue to voice their opinions.
“We have to make sure we’re making the right choices,” Samuelson said.