Des Moines hikes stormwater fees to speed up work

Fixing Des Moines' aging stormwater system faster means water bills will go up in the city.

The Des Moines City Council Monday night approved an increase in stormwater utility fees so that stormwater projects that were slated to be done in ten years can be completed in five.

The council gave final approval to a 6% increase as of January of 2019, 6% in 2020 and then 5% in 2021.  After that, the city says the fees would go back to their regular rate. 

The increase is expected to bring about $1.5 million dollars in extra revenue the first year, $1.6 million the second, $1.7 million the third, $1.5 million the fourth and nearly $955 thousand the fifth.

At the Monday meeting, most of the council also asked city officials to be more transparent about what work is done and what's completed.  They suggested the city post real-time updates to stormwater projects on the city's website, so all can see them.   

Councilman Chris Coleman lives near the area that flooded June 30th, 2018 and Councilman Bill Gray lives in an area that regularly floods.  Coleman says the two "take this personally.  We don't want to see people go through this again." Coleman said the council has "to show some discipline" and get the work done.

Councilman Bill Gray says if the storm water keeps coming in, "then we're not doing our jobs." He says, "I don't think we can do this fast enough." Councilwoman Connie Boesen says stormwater management is "a basic service" the city must provide.

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