As I mentioned last week, the Idaho Supreme Court has rejected the city of Lewiston’s stormwater fee, declaring it to be an unconstitutional tax.
That decision is having a couple of repercussions, both in Lewiston and beyond. First, FEMA had recently awarded the city a nearly $1.6 million Pre-Disaster Mitigation Competitive grant to improve its stormwater system and reduce flood risk. The FEMA grant represented 75% of the cost of the total improvement effort, and the remaining 25% was to come from fees collected through the city’s stormwater utility. The fate of the project, and possibly of the grant. is uncertain as the city looks to other measures—revenue bonds, increased reliance on property taxes, etc.—to pay for stormwater expenses.
Next, the Lewiston city council is pondering whether it must refund the stormwater fees already collected. (The state supreme court ruling does not mandate a return of the fees.)
And finally, spreading beyond the city itself, the court’s ruling has prompted another Idaho city to postpone collecting its own stormwater fees. Couer d’Alene’s fee structure is similar to Lewiston’s, and its city council has decided to wait for a review to see whether its utility needs changes or whether, based on the state supreme court ruling, it will also be considered unconstitutional. The city attorney expects to reach a decision by the end of the year.
Upcoming Forester University Webinars:
Dec 7th, 2011:
Maximize Your Energy Efficiency and Savings with Lighting Solutions
Stop wasting energy and savings on your lighting! Join Gregory Davis, Chief Technology Officer at Lumetric, Inc. on December 7th at 2p.m. EST to explore lighting efficiency technology as a means to maximize your energy efficiency and increase your savings. We’ll discuss efficiency opportunities, technologies, and applications available in lighting, and compare solutions (e.g., application, maintenance, lifespan, etc.) for your best ROI.
Dec 13th, 2011:
Stormwater Inspection and Maintenance
Don’t get caught in the storm. Join Andrew J. Erickson, M.S., P.E., for Stormwater Inspection & Maintenance on Dec. 13th, a discussion of standardized stormwater inspection methods and performance assessment. Learn how to use these to assess, select, and schedule effective and financially sustainable maintenance on stormwater treatment practices (e.g., stormwater ponds, bioretention facilities, infiltration basins, swales, and filter strips).