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October Is Coming and So Are Clarion Borough Stormwater Bills

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Clarion Borough PoliceCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – October is coming and so are the first monthly fees for the Clarion Borough Stormwater Authority, but officials are holding off making any estimates on the individual bills.

“We’re still looking to begin billing in the third quarter and send that bill at the beginning of October,” said Borough Projects Coordinator Todd Colosimo on Monday afternoon.

Asked if he had any estimates on an average bill, Colosimo said: “I have no idea. They’ll range from very little to quite a bit. I really can’t put numbers to it.

“We haven’t done our billing yet, and once we have our billing put together, we’ll have a better idea. We’re going to have to compare everybody’s impervious areas. We’re still in process of setting up our billing process and that’s why we have no idea. We purchased the billing software off of the vendor who currently provides accounting software to the Borough, RA Services.”

Asked if property owners might be shocked when they received their first bill, Colosimo said most people probably will not be shocked.

“If you’re in a lower-tier, it won’t be a big deal.”

At this point in time, the Authority is not making estimates for property owners.

“We are really not set up to take individuals in to tell them what all is impervious on their property. We did hire Jessica Schwabenbauer as an employee for the Authority, and she will be starting July 22. I think we’ll be able to get things rolling faster after that because we will have a dedicated person to help.  I’m still going to be involved in it.”

The Authority received 11 applications for the position.

The Authority’s first project, the massive rebuilding of the Center Place road, is now “pretty much done and were just finishing up some punch list items right now.”

Center Place is also now open for traffic, even with the continuing construction of Regency Commons.

“The next big thing is to start the billing, and in a couple of months will be setting up a new budget. We’ll continue to get the Authority up and running and hopefully start on some new projects when we can.”

At the same time work on Center Place was being developed, residents also noticed even more work on Fifth Avenue. The Fifth Avenue project is being conducted by PA American Water, and it includes water lines and sanitary sewers. A byproduct of that work was the installation of new replacement sidewalks.

The Clarion Borough Stormwater Authority formally adopted a seven-tier fee system related to the amount of stormwater entering the stormwater system in Clarion Borough on January 24, 2019.  The tier system is based on the impervious area (roofs, sidewalks driveways, patios) any area open to the sky that does not allow water to soak into the ground.

Fees will help cover the costs of the stormwater system.

“Everybody that uses the stormwater system is going to have to pay into it, and that’s one of the benefits,” explained authority chairman Jason Noto at the January meeting.

“People have mentioned the property tax rate and how it falls disproportionately on a small population because of the large amount of tax-exempt property we have. Part of the reason for doing it this way is that this isn’t something that’s going to avoid the university, the school district, the county, or even the borough. It’s going to hit on all of the entities in the borough evenly, and that’s one of the benefits of it.”

“If there were another, better way – we sat here for months talking about it, hammered it out and argued it, and we’ve come up with what we think is the best way. If there’s a better way, we would certainly consider it. Other municipalities have done something like this to be able to help meet their needs. This is the fairest best way we can come up with during it.”

Since it is a fee and not a tax, all non-profits must pay the fee, for example, Clarion University and churches.

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