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Monroeville MS4 proposed ordinance offers clues for what’s to come

September 1, 2018

Monroeville Municipal Center

Monroeville council unanimously put an ordinance on 30-day public display that establishes a fee to pay for its Municipal Storm Sewer System, also known as MS4, but has not publicly detailed how much the fee will be for residential and commercial properties.

“Until everybody says ‘aye,’ I’m not saying a word,” Councilman Ron Harvey said, noting the projected numbers could change before council votes on the final ordinance Sept. 11.

The proposed ordinance sets up the municipality’s properties into six different categories included in the fee calculations. Fees will be determined by calculating a property’s “equivalent residential units,” or ERUs. One ERU is equivalent to 2,385 square feet.

Here’s how it will break down by each category:Owners of commercial, or “not single-family residential properties,” will be assessed individually to calculate how many ERUs are present. The municipality will determine the calculation based off “aerial photography, surface feature evaluation processes, or other methods of quantification,” according to the proposed ordinance.Duplex property owners will pay for two ERUs.Multiple single-family residential property and single-family residential property owners will pay for one ERU.Owners of single-family residential accessory properties will pay for one-half of an ERU.Owners of vacant properties will pay for a quarter of an ERU.

Each property will be billed once a year by the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Government in January, and the fee will be due March 31. Right-of-way properties owned by the municipality, county, state and federal governments are exempt from paying a fee.

The proposed ordinance also creates an appeal process for individuals who disagree with how a property was assessed.

The ordinance does not address how the fee is paid or who is to pay it, meaning tenants could be prorated the fee. It also implements a 1 percent late fee and a 1 percent interest rate for each month it isn’t paid.

The fee calculations were based on an MS Consultants report that found Monroeville’s five-year Pollution Reduction Plan will cost $37.7 million, or $7.5 million per year. The PRP is only one part of the multifaceted MS4 program, which includes reducing the municipality’s 801,302 pounds of sediment per year at $47 per pound by using bioswales, retention ponds, permeable pavement, street sweeping, stream restoration and forested buffers.

Harvey said a meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 6, at the muncipal building, will offer residents an opportunity to learn about the minutia of the MS4 program.

“If you have any questions or want to learn about the MS4 project, what it’s going to do for our community, what it’s going to cost, what it’s going to accomplish, this is the meeting you want to attend,” Harvey said at an Aug. 14 meeting.

He said there are two separate meetings scheduled for Monroeville business owners.

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