Passage of proposition would generate funds for stormwater improvements

Two local propositions will appear on the ballot Tuesday, April 2, in Hannibal. One of the measures is Proposition S, which was placed there by the Hannibal Board of Public Works.

To learn more about Proposition S, the Courier-Post submitted some questions to Heath Hall, general manager of the HBPW. The following are his responses:

What exactly is Proposition S?

Proposition S allows citizens of Hannibal to consider the implementation of a fee schedule for the purpose of funding a utility to acquire, construct, maintain, and improve the City’s stormwater conveyance system.

If the proposition is approved, the stormwater utility fee would allow the HBPW the ability to address failing infrastructure, perform condition assessments throughout the system, have regular operations and maintenance schedules, define right of ways, plan and implement capital projects, and meet Missouri Department of Natural Resources MS4 permit requirements. Proposition S would allow the Board of Public Works to charge user fees for stormwater runoff to property owners in the city limits of Hannibal. The fee structure would create a dedicated fund for the Stormwater Department,  to function as its own utility; similar to the current Electric, Water, and Sanitary Sewer Departments that are currently operated by the Board of Public Works.

If approved, what will it cost?

$1.39 per 500 square ft. of impervious area per month

For the average residential home in Hannibal, this equates to approximately $6/month,

Impervious area is all the surfaces that water runs off without soaking into the ground (for example: roof tops, concrete and asphalt driveways, parking lots, etc.).

Why does the city want to impose a stormwater fee now?

Many of the storm sewer systems throughout the city are inadequately sized or constructed, and have been failing at increasing rates, as the infrastructure ages. The city has identified the need for a comprehensive stormwater initiative to address these issues and improve stormwater control. As such, on June 6, 2017 the Hannibal City Council adopted Resolution No. 2092-17 authorizing and directing HBPW to establish a stormwater utility and comprehensive stormwater repair program.

A service fee for stormwater funding has several significant advantages over other funding options. It is flexible, offers the prospect of stable funding over time, allows restrictive dedication of the revenues to stormwater management only, and enables an equitable distribution of costs based on demands placed on the drainage system.

How would the money be used if Proposition S is improved?

Most significantly, money would be used to repair multiple failing stormwater systems throughout Hannibal. Some we already know about because the street or alley has collapsed above them. With adequate funding, we hope to begin identifying these areas before future street failures occur.

We will also continue working on maintaining compliance with MDNR by addressing stormwater quality related items that are required in the MS4 permit.

Would stormwater projects still be undertaken if Proposition S did not pass?

No. Many known stormwater issues as well as future failures will continue to remain unaddressed due to lack of a funding source dedicated to stormwater. Most, if not all failed systems, would be barricaded off or have steel plates installed over them.

If Proposition S fails what happens?

If Proposition S does not pass, we will continue working on the requirements of the MS4 permit as these are regulated by MDNR and the EPA. Stormwater infrastructure repairs would not occur due to lack of a funding source. We have installed steel plates over several roadways throughout town (Martin Street, Webb, and near the St. Elizabeth hospital building just to name a few). Unfortunately if Proposition S does not pass, this strategy would continue.

What level of approval will be needed, a simple majority, a super majority?

Simple majority.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

If you have additional questions you would like addressed, please call our offices at 573-221-8050. You can also read more about the history of stormwater in Hannibal and review the complete ballot and ordinance language at www.hannibalbpw.org.