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Storm water fee increase possibility

Ironton residents could see an increase of $1 on their storm water bill if Ironton City Council passes an ordinance on an emergency basis at its meeting tonight.

The ordinance will amend an older one that imposed a $2 per every 1,000 gallons of water used that was earmarked for the city’s Storm Water Utility Fund. Council had been considering increasing that fee to $4, but has placed on the agenda the lower figure.

“The ordinance will kill the old ordinance and make a new one,” Bob Cleary, council member and head of the public utilities committee, said. “It is necessary with the EPA issue that we have with the storm water separation.”

The fee hike is required to fund ongoing EPA mandates to separate storm water from the sewer system.

This ordinance has been deemed an emergency for the necessary health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Ironton and will take effect immediately upon passage.

With this being the first reading, it would take six members of council to suspend the three reading rule and pass it, which Cleary said he doesn’t think will happen tonight.

“I feel like it could have three readings because it takes six people to suspend the rules,” Cleary said. “It may have to go six weeks before it’s passed, but it needs to be adopted soon because the next phase of the project is going to start next year and we need to have the money set aside for it.”

Cleary also said that along with the dollar increase, the city will also look for alternative ways to subsidize construction costs such as grants and zero-interest funding. The costs increase with each phase of the EPA-mandated five-phase project of separating the storm water and sewer systems.

A public utilities committee meeting will be at 5 p.m. today to further discuss the issue of the storm water fee, followed by a finance committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. and then the regular city council meeting at 6 p.m.

The other ordinance on the agenda for the council meeting is the first reading of Ordinance 15-11, renewing amended Ordinance 14-21, that will give businesses that rent out space in the city building a reduction in the cost of their lease if certain requirements are met.

The three resolutions on the agenda are Resolution 15-10, authorizing the execution of a revolving loan fund agreement between the city of Ironton and the state of Ohio and declaring an emergency, Resolution 15-12, amended and/or restated resolution of the council of the city of Ironton, Lawrence County and Resolution 15-14, supporting the Award of State Historic Tax Credits to the Ironton Lofts Project.

All of the meetings will take place in the council chambers on the third floor of the Ironton City Building.