Voters Could Finally Let MSD Charge a Stormwater Fee Based on Size of Parking Lots and Rooftops

By on March 12, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Kevin Poindexter used to mow the grass between his back fence and Maline Creek.

“I wouldn’t dare go outside that fence now,” he said. “That’s how much land has slid down.”

Over the 20 years he’s lived in the subdivision near Lucas and Hunt and Halls Ferry roads, Poindexter has watched the creek slowly claim more of his property. His neighbor ceded half his yard and put up a new fence to make sure children won’t tumble down the steep ledge.

County and municipal officials told him it’s not their responsibility. The region’s sewer district, too, has been unable to help.

“The erosion, it’s not gonna stop,” Poindexter said. “It’s only a matter of time. My back is against the wall. I don’t know what to do.”

A special election set for April 2 that is generating little attention could make a huge difference for Poindexter and others like him. Next month, voters in St. Louis and most of St. Louis County will settle a question that has vexed the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District for more than a decade: Can it charge customers a fee based on the square footage of rooftops, driveways and parking lots to manage stormwater?

If the extra charge — a couple of dollars a month for most customers — is approved by the people in MSD’s service territory, it should resolve an issue that traveled all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2013 and left the district without a funding mechanism to fix stormwater problems around the region.

Other regional sewer districts, such as those in Cleveland and Washington, charge impervious fees, and backers say they’re the most equitable way to pay to manage rainwater and flooding.

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