OBERLIN — City residents will see a new stormwater utility fee to start next year as Oberlin is partnering with Lorain County Stormwater Management District to meet environmental requirements.
A fee of $4.25 a month will fund improvements to Oberlin’s stormwater management program. The partnership with the county management system — the residential utility fee was a requirement of the partnership — will allow Oberlin and the district to better plan stormwater improvements; coordinate capital projects and service in the area with Oberlin projects benefitting the city as well as Pittsfield and New Russia townships.
“The county has been working toward this project and we are now about to see the fruits of that labor bringing a multitude of benefits to the townships and Oberlin,” said county Commissioner Matt Lundy in a news release. “This is an example of what county government can do in partnership and with resources.”
Oberlin City Council approved the utility fee plan at a recent meeting, where Oberlin’s five-year improvement plan was also discussed.
Oberlin currently spends about $400,000 each year on stormwater utility services, according to a budget analysis. In order to bring Oberlin up to the standards of the new county partnership, Oberlin Public Works Director Jeff Baumann said Oberlin would need about $329,000 in additional services.
Those expenses would cover projects to improve drainage and flooding as well as helping improve services. In addition to the utility fee, Oberlin will provide an estimated $448,060 from its general fund and income tax capital fund.
Baumann said Oberlin has a list of requirements under the partnership to help improve the drainage system. The city also will need to reach the requirements to get a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
The $4.25 a month fee will increase over the next five years to $6.61 monthly, or $79.32 annually, by 2023.
The district was created in 2010 to ensure that necessary resources were available to comply with the Clean Water Act, U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA rules, regulations and in particular the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for itself and the townships.
“This project has taken some time to get to this point but demonstrates the commitment of this board and our partners to move forward toward the benefit of our community,” said county Commissioner Lori Kokoski in a news release.
“Protecting our greatest resource while providing stormwater management positively impacting our district and the city of Oberlin is another step along the way of progress for all of our communities,” said Commissioner Ted Kalo in a press release.