City establishes stormwater utility; sets ratesAfter several months of study and debate, the Hudson City Council on Monday night gave final approval to the establishment of a stormwater utility.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
After several months of study and debate, the Hudson City Council on Monday night gave final approval to the establishment of a stormwater utility.
The council also passed a resolution establishing the rates for the utility, which for owners of one- and two-family residential units will be $30 per year.
The $7.50-per-quarter charge will be added to the regular water and sewer bills.
Multi-family buildings will be charged at a rate of one-half residential equivalency unit (REU) per apartment, or $3.50 per apartment, each quarter.
The owners of industrial, commercial and institutional properties (including churches and schools) will pay a fee based upon the property’s impervious surface area.
The charges range from $7.50 per quarter for 2,890 square feet or less of impervious surface to $750 for 289,001 square feet or more of impervious surface.
Nonresidential and multi-family property owners also can earn credits of up to 90 percent of the charge by taking steps to contain stormwater on their properties.
There was little left to talk about Monday night.
Alderperson Rich Vanselow reiterated his preference for establishing a sunset for the utility, but said he would vote for its establishment because he realized that storm sewer repairs are needed.
Alderperson Lee Wyland said storm sewer repair and maintenance costs might be moved into the general budget if state-imposed tax levy limits are lifted in the future.
Both the establishment of the utility and the rates for it were approved on unanimous voice votes.
“Good work,” Mayor Alan Burchill said at the conclusion. “It took a long time. I think we came to a good resolution.”
Boat launch policy
A discussion of issues surrounding the city’s boat launches at Lakefront Park and Lake Mallalieu lasted much longer.
In the end, the council approved charging city residents $70 for a season pass to use the Lakefront Park launch. The price was set at $105 for non-city residents.
The council also adopted an ordinance making it illegal to park a boat trailer on any city street. That move was in response to a decision to let both city residents and non-city residents use the Lakefront Park launch even if the parking lot is full.
In the past, only city residents were allowed to launch their boats if the lot was full and take their trailers elsewhere.
Council President Lori Bernard said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources won’t allow the city to have one rule for residents and another for non-residents.
She said the decision was made to allow all boaters to launch and park elsewhere rather than ban the practice for everyone, including city residents.
The fear was that non-city boaters would take up parking spots in the downtown and residential neighborhoods if trailer parking wasn’t prohibited on city streets.
Alderperson Lee Wyland opposed the measure. He thought the council should prohibit trailer parking in just the areas where it might be a problem.
He said that boaters often park their trailers on Second Street (Hwy. 35) next to the Lake Mallalieu boat launch, and the practice doesn’t create a problem there.
EMS chief resigns
Also on Monday night, Mayor Burchill announced that EMS Chief Eric Christensen has resigned to take the job of emergency services director for Door County, Wis.
Later, in a call to the Star-Observer, Christensen said he was offered the job last Friday. He was planning to tell the St. Croix EMS staff about his new job on Tuesday night.
He said it was a hard decision to make, but he wanted move closer to his ailing father in Michigan. He also has a sister who lives north of Green Bay.
Special library meeting
Burchill called a special City Council meeting for Monday night, March 19, to discuss funding for the Hudson Area Library. He said it has come to the city’s attention that the library isn’t being funded to the level required by the state, and that it is a potentially serious problem.
Bernard said the state Legislature is working on a new funding formula that could put the city in compliance.