Leavenworth city commissioners have officially approved new fees to help pay for maintenance to the city's stormwater system.

Leavenworth city commissioners have officially approved new fees to help pay for maintenance to the city's stormwater system.

During a meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved an ordinance establishing a stormwater management program and an ordinance that creates the fees to pay for the program.

The new fees are listed in an amended schedule of fees for the city.

Owners of single residential properties will be charged an annual fee of $84 as part of the stormwater management program. Fees for commercial properties range from $162 to $3,125 per year depending on the size of buildings. Fees for industrial properties range from $337 to $3,125 depending on the size of buildings.

The fees will appear on annual property tax bills. Because the fees are not considered a tax, they will be charged to tax exempt entities in the city.

City Manager Paul Kramer said the city should receive the first round of funds for the program in December. He said city officials will go ahead and start identifying projects to include in the first round of projects to be completed as part of the program.

City officials may begin by focusing on what Kramer referred to as “orange fence” projects, which he said affect people's back yards.

Commissioners began looking last year at the possibility of implementing a fee to pay for repairs to the city's stormwater system, which carries rainwater away from buildings and roads. The water is channeled into creeks and watershed areas.

City officials say they have identified more than $83 million in needed maintenance to the stormwater system.

Commissioners had their first consideration of the two ordinances during a special meeting last week.

The two ordinances were approved Tuesday by a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Larry Dedeke was absent.

After the votes, Louis Klemp addressed commissioners during a period set aside for public comment.

Klemp is the chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission.

He questioned why city commissioners are not using a portion of the city's share of revenue from a countywide sales tax to pay for stormwater maintenance.

“It would have been nice if you'd done that,” he said.

He suggested commissioners could lower the city's mill levy instead.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

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