Photo | City of Mobile
The city of Mobile is considering a $10 annual fee for residential properties (yellow) and as much as $3,000 per year for commercial properties (red) to contribute to its stormwater management program.
The Mobile City Council delayed a vote Tuesday, Aug. 7, on a proposed stormwater management fee. The item has been assigned to the Administrative Services Committee for debate.
The proposal from Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office would require residents to pay $10 more per year on their property tax bill to help the city better manage its stormwater. Commercial properties would pay a half-cent per square foot of property, up to $3,000, according to a statement from the administration. Current property tax exemptions apply. Owners of agricultural land will also be exempt.
“When I first stepped into office, Mobile was the poster child for stormwater mismanagement,” Stimpson said in a statement. “As the rainiest city in America, this is a serious problem. Now, we are well on our way to becoming the poster child for stormwater excellence. This funding will help us better protect our natural resources and create a cleaner, greener community.”
Executive Director of Finance and acting Chief of Staff Paul Wesch said it’s unclear how much money would be collected from the fee, as the geographic information system department has not finished measuring commercial lots. The fees were set by recent state legislative action giving cities the authority to impose them, he said.
The move is designed to help strengthen the city’s stormwater management program, as all the fees will be allocated for the program. Wesch said the hope is that the additional funding could help increase the city’s stormwater capacity and prevent serious flash flooding and other issues.
The statement revealed the following initiatives that could begin with the proposed funds: eliminate and prevent pollution, illicit discharges, improper disposal and spills; monitor stormwater collection system operations and stormwater discharges from industrial facilities; enforce controls to minimize pollutants from construction activities; develop stormwater management practices for new developments and re-developments; and implement public education activities regarding the stormwater management program.
Council Vice President Levon Manzie named Councilwoman Gina Gregory chairwoman of the committee tasked with taking up the issue.
There is a bit of a deadline looming on the issue, as the city hopes to work with the county’s revenue department to get the fee added to Oct. 1 property tax bills, Assistant City Attorney Flo Kessler said. The department had hoped to have the fee approved by Aug. 1, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen now, Kessler said.
In other business, the council approved ordinances related to a Mardi Gras staple. In companion moves, the council banned plastic confetti and approved paper confetti to be used during Fat Tuesday celebrations.
The council approved the capital improvement plan moving forward for five years and approved the proposed 2019 plan.
The council also approved a recommendation to the ABC Board for issuance of a liquor license for Taco Mama in the Publix shopping center in midtown.
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