Opinion: Bloomington should consider a different approach to stormwater revenue

At its regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Bloomington City Council will consider “adjusting stormwater fees.” It’s the second reading of a change to the city’s ordinance on the “stormwater utility.”

Manhole rain
The manhole cover near Indiana Avenue and 6th Street on Feb. 7, 2019.

Of course, a “fee adjustment” generally means an increase of the fee.

And Bloomington’s proposed adjustment is a more than doubling of the monthly fee paid by single-family residential (SFR) customers—implemented in two phases over six months. The first bump, to $4.32 per month, would go into effect about four months from now, on July 1, 2019. Six months after that, on Jan. 1, 2020, the rate would go up to $5.95 per month.

More than a decade and a half has gone by since the rate was increased. (It was Ordinance 03-24, enacted in 2003, that put the current rate into effect, according to the city’s online municipal code.)

Even as a recent arrival in Bloomington, I recognize that the city’s stormwater infrastructure needs some improvement. On Feb. 7, when around 3 inches of rain fell, I walked from 6th Street near the courthouse square to the Indiana University Credit Union near the IU football stadium. Continue reading “Opinion: Bloomington should consider a different approach to stormwater revenue”