Stormwater service charges are going up for Wichita residents.
City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the drainage fee rate for all Wichita customers, with residents bearing more of the cost increase.
Right now, all customers are charged $2 per month, with commercial property owners paying an additional fee based on their amount impervious surface -- property where water can't soak into the ground. The new system will charge a base rate of $1.50 per month, and begin charging residents based on actual square footage of impervious surface.
Director of Public Works Alan King told council members that commercial property comprises 61 percent of the city's impervious areas, but commercial customers pay for 71 percent of stormwater costs, while residential customers pay 29 percent. Under the new rate system, residential customers -- whose property makes up 39 percent of impervious area -- will pay a slightly larger share of the costs.
"So what this does is it creates a greater amount of rate equity between the two different rate classes," King said.
Depending on size, owners of residential properties will pay between 50 cents to $5.50 more on their monthly bill. King said the change will generate millions of dollars for the city's dwindling fund for infrastructure repairs.
The new base charge will go into effect immediately. Residential customers will be divided into four cost tiers based on size at the start of 2018.
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