Drainage utility fee passes

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - It looks like Amarillo's flooding problems may soon be a thing of the past, after city leaders took a final vote today to pass the drainage utility fee.

It's money that won't be getting thrown down the drain, instead it will be fixing it.

Amarillo City Manager Jarrett Atkinson says, "We have an incredible backlog of complaints and an incredible backlog of projects. Now we have a dedicated way to go and take care of those."

City leaders are calling it a major victory for Amarillo, and many area residents are saying it's a sigh of relief.

Mayor Paul Harpole explains, "If you talk to the people that have had their homes flooded and those who have lost people to drowning, it's a very important issue to them."

All homes and businesses will be billed based on their amount of impervious surfaces.

The rate for a typical home will be $2.51 a month.

The city will send out a sample bill in August so residents will know what to expect when the first real bill comes out in October.

Atkinson adds, "If someone feels we have made an error in the calculations or we have considered something an impervious cover that in fact is not, there is a process for them to come in and give us that information, and let us take a look at it, and change it."

Once the billing goes into effect, a $12 million bond will be issued, so the first handful of projects can begin.

Mayor Harpole explains, "You are going to see a lot of things that will begin to change the shape of our drainage system and get more things underground. We will do it systematically, but in the way that least disrupts traffic."

The rates are not expected to rise any time soon, if at all, since the costs for each project have been carefully calculated.