By Scott Unger • Of the News-Register • 

City pushes back start date for stormwater utility fee

The implementation of a stormwater utility in McMinnville has been pushed back six months and is now expected to debut in early 2025, according to city staff.

The Stormwater/Wastewater Project Advisory Committee met last week and discussed the delay and other remaining issues with the plan. It was the last meeting before the April 17 work session when the recommendations will be presented to city council.

The committee was formed last year to explore the new utility needed to address deferred maintenance and provide funding for capital improvements relating to stormwater. There isn’t a current dedicated funding source for stormwater work; repairs are done as needed using money from the wastewater and transportation funds, according to city staff.

The committee initially planned to have the utility in place by July 1, with revenue coming in by August; however, it underestimated how long it will take to coordinate the new service with city partners, according to Project Engineer Chip Ullstad.

“This was an aggressive schedule and as we’ve recently learned isn’t realistic given remaining work,” Ullstad said of the summertime implementation. “Specifically, we underestimated the time it will take to coordinate with the billing software vendor and time for McMinnville Water & Light to complete test runs. Having a more realistic schedule will give us more time for public engagement and city council consideration.”

The revised timeline would take the proposal before city council for adoption in June, followed by several months to work out the billing software and two months for MW&L tests of the billing procedures. The utility would begin on Jan. 1, with the city receiving revenue starting in February, according to city staff.

The committee also discussed alternative revenue sources for the utility, at its recent meeting establishing a minimum fund reserve and phasing in the rates over three years.

When the utility is implemented, it will charge a fee to residential customers based on the median impervious area — where water does not soak into the surface — for a home (calculated at 3,500-square-feet). Non-residential properties will be calculated individually. The fee structure isn’t finalized, but estimates have ranged from $12 to $15 monthly for single family residences.

The committee will present its recommendations to council at a work session on April 17 at 6 p.m. at Kent Taylor Civic Hall.



Having a hard time understanding why this needs to be something separate and more costly than what we have now. Feels like one more added fee to us.

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