Now You Owe The City For Rain

Death By a Thousand Drops

It’s time to pay the city more money! They’ve decided that your tax dollars aren’t enough to get runoff water from our streets to the river. Their idea? Let’s charge everybody because their house and driveway don’t absorb water! I mean sure, that water still absorbs into your yard and doesn’t go anywhere near their drains but they want money now!

What’s the largest source of water runoff? CITY STREETS. If they’re going to charge themselves a fee based on the square footage of all city streets, then it’s a fair fee. After streets, the rest of the excess water comes from places like shopping centers, the mall, apartment complexes, etc., and they’re the ones who need to pay. They know your driveway isn’t causing runoff. There are exponentially more homes than businesses in town though, so getting a little from everybody still means a great deal of money. They want to bleed everyone just a little so they can harness this newfound revenue stream and they’re pretty certain that people won’t bother to complain about only $3.95 a month. That represents a 10% increase on the base city water/sewage bill by the way.

“The City of Milledgeville is considering the creation of a stormwater utility and adoption of a stormwater user fee dedicated solely to addressing stormwater management and drainage issues. “

That sounds to me like they’ll need a whole new department and staff to run it. That means more money, and that’ll come out of your pockets! Look at all the money paid to the water department for the past half century that did not make it to pipe upgrades or maintenance at the water treatment plant. During that time the water system “just worked” so people did pretty much nothing proactive while the monthly payments just kept coming.

All the other cities are doing it. That’s their primary reasoning. If sixty other communities charge this fee, Milledgeville is missing out on revenue and we can’t have that. Maybe people won’t ask why they haven’t addressed the issue until now with the money from existing taxes and fees. This isn’t an issue or expense that just popped up out of thin air; it’s something that has been part of running a city for hundreds of years.

Read the city’s announcement here: Stormwater Management FAQ

How does the city manage runoff now? Not well. Ask the owner of the property at Tanglewood and Holly Hill Roads in Carrington Woods. His yard fills like a pond when it rains because the pipes under the roadway are inadequate to drain it away. Half the neighborhood’s drains lead to this location via gutters and pipes with only a small outlet at the corner of his property. What’s the city’s response? “That’s your problem, not ours.”

A few blocks away from that fiasco they added 8-inch curbs where there were none. They funnel water for the entire street to 3-4 drains to handle over 1/4 mile of pavement. The drains clog with silt and leaves in the first few minutes of a rain shower, leaving the lowest yards to fill with water for the duration of the storm. Does the city regularly clean these drains? Nope. Their response is “we don’t have the manpower” and they’ll clean them once or twice a year. If that’s the case, they never should have implemented this horrible design. The existing ditches worked fine for the neighborhood’s first 50 years of existence. This is what they want to do more of with your fees.

If you’re wondering how much some places would owe, a quick calculation shows that the mall would owe around $1165 a month and the Walmart shopping center would owe around $1625. That makes sense because they have acres of paved area to gather rainwater. Most people’s homes don’t have any runoff but the facts never get in the way of increased revenue!

They want your money and they want it NOW. These extra charges are scheduled to begin in July, and if you aren’t a customer of the city water department, fear not — they’ll graciously bill you monthly for just the stormwater fee!

Visit the city’s site to read more about the “proposed” program.

Oh, who are we kidding? This isn’t a proposal. This is a decree, nothing more. Our City Planner “plans” to get that money out of your pocket asap. They were just polite enough to give you two months notice.