Norman Residents To Vote On Proposed Storm Water Utility
NORMAN, Oklahoma - The City of Norman has come up with a plan to stop flooding and clean up Lake Thunderbird. However, it will take a majority vote to put the plan in action and not everyone is on board.
“It's scary,” said Norman resident Annie Terrill. “It's probably up even with the curb when we have a heavy rain.”
Terrill doesn't have to go far to see the flooding in Norman, it's typically right in front of her.
“We need more drainage, it needs updated,” she said. “Down on the corner, it's collapsed more than once.”
Councilman Stephen Holman said the City has this storm water master plan, but no money to implement it.
“Some homes in Norman, the back of their houses are literally 10 feet away form a creek that is literally carving in and the city has no ability to help them,” Holman said.
That's why the city wants to impose a new utility fee, where residents would pay $1.25 per one thousand square feet of impervious or hard surfaces like concrete, where water runs off instead of soaking into the ground. The city would use aerial photographs to determine that amount, with an average cost of $6 dollars a month.
Those with less than 500 square feet of impervious land wouldn’t have to pay. Low income residents would get 25 percent off and churches, schools and nonprofit organizations would have a $300 cap.
However, not everyone agrees with the plan, saying the fee structure is unfair. Those News 9 talked to wouldn’t go on camera, but said they simply don’t understand where the money would go.
“It's hard to ask voters to pay more for something especially something new and complicated to understand,” Holman said.
Holman said the city would use the funds to clean out debris from storm water channels throughout the city, stabilize eroding stream banks and add more street sweepers. Terrill said she'll gladly pay the extra money for some peace of mind.
“I really hope it passes and some changes get made,” she said.
Voters will decide on the issue on Tuesday, August 23.