MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 13, 2013

Fees provide answers to flooding

— A plan designed to ease flooding in Muskogee is moving forward thanks in part to a fee implemented nearly two years ago.

The impervious surface fee is collected from owners of commercial and industrial properties. The amount of the fee is based on the area of impervious surfaces such as buildings and parking lots.

For instance, a company with a large paved parking lot must pay the fee because rainwater runs off the surface into the drainage system.

The drainage system is being overwhelmed on days with long, steady rains or short, heavy cloudbursts.

Homes are being flooded because the excess water finds low spots to pool.

Travel east on Chandler Road near York Street and the problem becomes clear for everyone.

The fee is expected to raise $1.1 million per year when it is fully implemented.

That money is enough to secure any funding mechanism the city chooses such as a bond or a loan.

The City Council has given administrators the green light to move forward with plans to alleviate flooding in two areas of the city.

Two detention basins will be built — one north and one south of Chandler Road, east of York Street.

The impervious surface fees that have been collected so far will cover the design work needed before the detention basins are built.

The city has begun to study funding options as well.

The fee — to which some business owners objected — will help solve a long-standing problem. The stormwater drainage issue will help all those who live or do business in Muskogee.

The problem needed a solution.

The impervious surface fees helped make that happen.

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