The Byron City Council unanimously approved a billing rate for residents and businesses to fund a utility to deal with stormwater runoff.
The council approved a flat monthly billing rate of $3 for residents and an adjustable rate of $3 per Stormwater Equivalent Residential Unit for business and commercial properties.
The fee for business and commercial properties figures the rate by setting an ERU at 3,850 square feet of impervious area, which is area water will not be absorbed into but will cause run off, such as paved roads, drives and parking lots, roofs and other water impenetrable areas.
Approved along with the charge was authorization to increase fees 25 cents a year through the next 10 years.
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A community advisory committee looking at ground water issues in Byron made recommendations to the council in March, including a fee structure range council members used to set the now approved rate.
Even though fees have been approved, there is no date set for officials to vote and actually create a stormwater utility or start charging fees.
“It won’t be any later than the first of next year,” said Councilman Michael Chidester. “It could come sooner, but I think it may make sense to have it begin along with our next budget year. We’ll just have to see when we decide to start.”
Cities across Georgia have created such utilities and are charging fees to fulfill federal and state mandates regarding stormwater runoff and related pollutant and ecological factors.
Byron has faced additional water system woes as it has worked to identify and remedy water seepage problems into its drainage system resulting in ongoing regulatory fines.
Byron officials and the community advisory committee have been working on stormwater issues under the guidance of Georgia Water and Environmental Services of Perry.
In another unanimous vote during their regular monthly meeting Monday, council members approved an ordinance prohibiting and creating penalties for motorists caught cutting through private property and parking lots to avoid traffic lights.
The council also approved on Monday a resolution recognizing April 23-29 as Georgia Cities Week. City clerk Telina Allred said during the week city departments and their functions will be highlighted on displays in the Byron Municipal Complex lobby at 401 Main St. and she said on April 28 at 6 p.m. there will be a community party at the complex featuring hot dogs and an outdoor showing of Toy Story 3.
In another resolution, the council proclaimed April Confederate History and Heritage Month in the presence of members of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans who attended the meeting.
The council tabled two agenda items and plans to address them during a special meeting yet to be set, but that Chidester and Councilman Michael Chumbley said will likely be April 17.
At that time council members will likely engage Mauldin & Jenkins, Certified Public Accountants to perform the city’s 2016 audit and will also authorize Mayor Larry Collins to execute lease agreements for two new police vehicles already in the city budget.