Latrobe eyes addition of stormwater management fee
Council is expected in November to act on the proposed fee, which would be added to existing quarterly billing for other city services, solicitor Zachary Kansler said this week.
Before finalizing the fee structure and a related ordinance, Latrobe officials plan to meet with representatives from other communities that have similar fees in place, he said.
“We’re meeting with other municipalities to see what they’ve experienced, how we can tweak it,” he said.
Instead of drawing money from its general fund, the city would use proceeds from the stormwater management fee to help pay for state-mandated steps intended to reduce the amount of sediment carried by runoff and deposited in the Loyalhanna Creek.
City Manager Michael Gray, who was unable to attend Monday’s meeting, said in April the city expects to spend about $2 million to implement a five-year plan for annually reducing deposits into the creek by 10% — the equivalent of a minimum of 114,700 pounds of sediment held back each year.
Latrobe already sweeps debris from streets and cleans storm inlets to help keep sediment in check, Gray has said. He said the city might take additional measures, such as developing rain gardens, planting trees or installing stormwater detention ponds.
Kansler explained the fee would be based on the amount of impervious surfaces on a property, which contributes to stormwater runoff. He said the city has determined an average impervious area among Latrobe’s residential lots but is waiting for its consultant, Gibson-Thomas Engineering, to complete a survey of larger properties.
“Once we have all the commercial and nonprofit numbers in, we’re going to re-evaluate everything so that the budget is balanced,” Kansler said of the stormwater fee. “We can’t have too much (in fees) coming in.”
Gray has said residents would have an opportunity to reduce their fee by investing in “best practices” of stormwater management on their own lots — such as replacing a traditional paved driveway or walkway with a permeable surface that allows water to seep into the ground.
Neighboring Derry is among Westmoreland municipalities charging property owners to help offset stormwater management costs. Monroeville and Mt. Lebanon are among Allegheny County communities that have initiated similar fees.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .