Kyle prepares for future flooding hazards with possible stormwater fee increase

Still reeling from the Oct. 31, 2015 flood, Kyle city leaders met Saturday to discuss the possibility of increasing stormwater fees to help pay for fixes for future events.

Those talks were part of a Jan. 12 workshop on the city’s proposed Drainage Master Plan (DMP), which is expected to be completed in 2019. A timeframe for approval of the DMP has not yet been identified.

Officials said increasing residential stormwater fees could help offset the cost of proposed drainage improvements, while also covering damages from the 2015 floods. City leaders said some parts of Kyle are still recovering, primarily areas east of Interstate 35.

According to Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers and several city council members, neighborhoods including Steeplechase are still dealing with damage from the flood. Sellers said the city amassed 17 inches of rainfall within 24 hours during the 2015 flood event. Multiple flood events have happened since 2015, which is typical for the area, officials said.

Kyle residents currently pay a $5 monthly stormwater fee, which could go up to as much as $8, if the plan is approved by the Kyle City Council.

City leaders said flood problems in 2015 can be linked to a lack of funding on stormwater improvements and drainage plan updates.

“Over 100 structures were damaged in that event,” Sellers said. “And so were many detention ponds.”

Kyle has received state funding in subsequent years to help with private property damage. However, Sellers said the funds are not adequate to cover all costs.

Officials hope to better prepare for future floods by obtaining more funding, a factor that was missing prior to 2015.

In 2016, the Kyle City Council passed an ordinance creating a dedicated stormwater fee; the ordinance officially went into effect January 2017. Kathy Roecker, Kyle stormwater management plan administrator, said the current stormwater fee structure raises approximately $1.47 million annually.

A final decision has not been made regarding the proposed fee increase. However, city officials continue to work and craft its DMP.

Roecker was tasked with communicating with and working with Halff Associates, the company paid to prepare the plan, which was delayed by a year due to additional requests by the city. The cost of creating the plan was $177,500 and increased by $39,500 with supplemental fees.

On Jan. 12, residents cited their issues with maintaining and fixing drainage easements on their private properties. Historically, residents have paid the city an annual fee to maintain these features.

City officials are looking into how to divide the responsibility of maintaining drainage easements.

While fixing the easements are pricey, city officials said it is mutually beneficial to both parties.

 

With the addition of more information, this story has beed updated from its original version Jan. 17.

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