Roanoke Mayor David Bowers is speaking out about a proposed storm water utility fee following a public hearing on the issue Monday night.
City officials say the fee is necessary to pay for expensive storm water improvements they have to make in order to comply with new clean water guidelines set by the EPA.
They've proposed a fee of $0.90 per 500 square feet of impervious surface - things like roofs, driveways, and parking lots that storm water flows off of.
"That's where it's a good public policy issue that the people of Roanoke need to tangle with," Bowers said.
The city estimates the fee will cost the average homeowner about $7 a month.
Larger businesses with more land, roof space, and parking lots, though, would pay much higher rates.
"We've done as a good a job as possible in trying to develop a program to meet the needs of flooding and to clean up our river, and at the same time, understanding this is going to impact homeowners and business owners," Bowers said.
Bowers said he believes the fee is fair and that it's something they have to do for the greater good of the community.
"I live over on Mill Mountain; I'm not likely going to have much flooding in my house," he said. "And yet, I've got to make a contribution because I'm a part of this community. I've chosen to be a part of this community."
Bowers says the city may make minor changes to the measure based on input they've received from the public, and City Council still has to decide whether it wants to phase in the fee over the next two years or three years.
But he believes the fee will still be there when the council votes on it later this fall.