The possibility of adjusting storm water rates in the future led Kyle city leaders to forgo a proposed fee increase Saturday.
Discussion on stormwater fees was part of the city’s second Drainage Master Plan (DMP) meeting, which involved the proposed study that addresses drainage issues in the city.
Several drainage easements, ponds and neighborhoods have needs ranging from repairs and maintenance to upgrades, per the DMP. City staff had recommended additional funds to meet those needs, but city council members said they have to make do for the moment.
At the Jan. 12 DMP meeting, several city council members and staff proposed a $3 increase to the city’s current storm water fees. Kyle utility customers currently pay a $5 storm water fee.
On Saturday, city council members were no longer interested in increasing the fee and wanted more time to discuss the issue.
Mayor Travis Mitchell and council member Daphne Tenorio were the most vocal against increasing the fee. Mitchell and Tenorio said they wanted to avoid the increase, especially given that they could not promise citizens that it would be the last increase.
“Over the next five to 10 years, we have this problem across every department,” Mitchell said. “Storm water, wastewater and water. It’s the same problem. Growth and/or negligence from decades past is culminating to increases in expenses over time.”
Mitchell said he doesn’t want an increase now, as wastewater fees are already increasing. City council members opted to possibly stagger stormwater fee increases.
In the meantime, Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Kyle could decide to restructure to allow fee collections and maintenance for the respective neighborhoods.
Diane Hervol, president of the Amberwood HOA, said she and her neighbors have been paying the city’s fees, which have gone toward non-HOA areas.
“I’ve paid for council member Tenorio’s (district’s) drainage easement, yet mine’s not maintained yet,” Hervol said. “We maintain aesthetics and amenities. We need to redefine maintenance.”
Hervol said her subdivision is willing to pay to complete necessary projects, but would like to clear up what is the city’s responsibility and what is the HOA’s responsibility.
All changes, however, are proposed at this time. The DMP, the first assessment of its kind in Kyle, has yet to be approved by city leaders.
Mitchell and the city council asked staff to complete approximately nine projects that are feasible with current staffing levels and equipment.
The master plan is available online as a draft, and is the product of a collaboration with Halff Associates and the city. Further meetings are required to address the fee, maintenance projects and more.