Claremore Daily Progress

October 2, 2013

City looks to improve storm water drainage

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

The City of Claremore is looking to implement a storm water fee to fund solutions for drainage and flooding issues.
By taking a look at the master drainage plan, engineers looked for solutions to reduce flooding in the future.
More than 17 miles of flood plain were studied, leading to 40 recommendations with $29.4 million in repairs.
Many of the projects deal with Cat Creek and downtown Claremore, both areas prone to flooding.
If approved, residential customers of the city would be charged a flat fee of about $4 a month to pay for the improvements.
Businesses would pay a fee based on the size of their property.
For example, small business could expect a fee of about $12 a month. 
Larger companies such as Wal-Mart or Baker Hughes could expect fees about $500 or more a month.
Fees are based on the lands contributing factors to drainage, according to city representatives.
The city is one of the last in the area to implement this type of fee, according to Chris Hill, representative with Meshek and Associates, a civil engineering company.
Companies are familiar with these types of fees because this is a normal procedure in communities across the country, Hill said.
“We can not afford to wait 30 years to raise $30 million,”  city manager Jim Thomas said.
The city would likely seek bond financing to pay for the project, he said.
If a fee is implemented, the city would have the revenue needed to make a bond payment allowing the project to be completed, according to Thomas.
The project would be done in sections to limit traffic or other inconveniences to the public, Thomas said.
Each part of the project would be prioritized, according to city officials.
The project as a whole includes several sub-plans to improve the city’s overall storm water drainage system.
Each section would be looked at as part of the entire system to insure the improvements would not create more problems in other areas, according to city officials.
For example, the water issues downtown could be addressed by diverting water around downtown instead of allowing it drain into the center of the city.
The yearly fees could generate approximately $874,000 in fees, which would be a dedicated to pay for the improvements.
The city would look at funding about $10 million of the total cost to fund the projects combined with sale tax revenue to complete the project, according to Thomas.
The fees would be used with road improvement funding to make the project possible.
The more projects like these the city puts into place the lower insurance rates could go for the citizens, according to Hill.