At its work session tonight, the Falls Church City Council took under advisement from its Public Works Department the scope of the storm water mitigation problems facing the City and its 27 miles of storm sewers and a proposition for covering the high cost of addressing such needs. The latter proposal involved the formation of a dedicated Storm Water Mitigation Fund that would receive annual sums from the City, but also from money collected as a special “user fee” tax on property owners adjusted according to the percentage of surface areas deemed impervious, thus adding to water runoff.
F.C.’s Public Works Director Bill Hicks spelled out the need over the next decade of $10 million to address storm water needs, alone. The magnitude of the need was underscored by the devastating consequences of the “100 year storm” of Sept. 8, 2011, when a long, strong and steady rainfall caused major property damage in locations all over Falls Church by flooding basements and also driving sewage wastes up through basement and ground floor toilets.
“We knew we were going to have to step up to this problem,” Hicks told the Council tonight, and said that a dedicated fund would allow for systematic investment and reinvestment in improvements, insure the City was in regulatory compliance with City code, state and federal requirements, protect private property and support the long-term financial stability of the City by forestalling sudden catastrophies.
The first reading of a storm water utility ordinance is scheduled for the City Council meeting of Nov. 13.