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Stormwater utility fees on city workshop agenda


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Monday, February 11, 2019

Fees to fund stormwater system improvements will be discussed at today’s Greenville City Council workshop.

The workshop is at 4 p.m. and will be followed by the council’s regular session which begins at 6 p.m. A tax fund request, a contract for state lobbying services and budget adjustments are three items that require a council vote.

In November, the Stormwater Advisory Committee presented City Council with a list of capital projects needed to upgrade the system. At the time, the committee estimated the city would have to triple its current stormwater fee over the next six years to fund $150 million in capital projects which included flood control, water quality and stream bank stabilization.

Staff will present additional information about the advisory committee’s recommendations and other alternatives for a sustainable management program. The alternatives will detail levels of service and capital project implementation for various utility rates.

The council also will receive a presentation on the proposed public-private economic development alliance.

Work on the project started nearly one year ago when the City Council, Pitt County Board of Commissioners, Greenville Utilities Commission and Committee of 100 funded a feasibility study to examine how the community’s various multiple economic development efforts could be streamlined. The study also researched the likelihood of local businesses and industries contributing to economic development efforts.

In August Pitt County Commissioners Beth Ward and Tom Coulson began questioning the project because they believed the county’s control over tax dollars dedicated to economic development would be diluted. Despite their concerns, the Board of Commissioners agreed to join a working group that would develop a governance model for the public private partnership.

At its third meeting the committee endorsed a concept, funding sources and governance model for a partnership. A month later, on Jan. 14, Ward and Colson withdrew the county’s support. The City Council and other partners decided to move forward.

City Council agenda

Staff is recommending the council approve a $72,000 contract with Ward and Smith for lobbying services with the state of North Carolina.

Staff said the firm would work with the General Assembly in areas including economic development, transportation, storm water, tax policies and City Council priorities.

The contract will be for one year.

The North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, public service power company that sells wholesale power to GUC, has filed a claim seeking a $185,936 tax refund from the city. The money was paid over a four-year period.

Staff said the refund is warranted. The power agency built a facility on city owned property as part of its service to GUC, but the land is outside Greenville’s city limits so city taxes should never have been collected.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.