Town Considers User Funded Plan To Improve Drainage

For years…maybe even decades…Crothersville residents have complained about the lack of drainage particularly after a heavy rain.

The current town council, all longtime local residents, are keenly aware of the problem, some even facing their own drainage problems.

Council president Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson began a discussion on a possible solution during last Tuesday’s town council meeting.

“There is away to help pay for improved drainage,” said Robins. “It is a way other communities such as Seymour and North Vernon have used.”

Robinson floated the idea of a Stormwater Utility Fee to be paid by all Crothersville water & sewer utility customers.

Town engineer Brad Bender of FPBH said a residential fee would be established based on the average amount of impervious land (rooftops and paving). The per unit fee would apply to non-residential customers as well.

“The fees are charged on individual parcels of land based on the amount of impervious area on the property (hard surface).  The amount of impervious land is used because it has been shown to be a good indicator of the amount of runoff that can result in surface water drainage issues,” said Bender.

Robinson said that a monthly fee to utility customers would be used by the town to purchase and install culverts and clean public drainageways to hasten surface water flow.

“Crothersville, as far back as I can remember, has always had a drainage problem,” said councilman Bob Lyttle. “Especially the east side of town.”

There, some residents over the years, filled in ditches to make mowing easier.

Councilwoman Danieta Foster said some of the drainage problems is exacerbated by a hodge-podge of driveway drains.

“There are three neighbors on Moore Street that have three difference sizes and kinds of culverts. The one furthest downstream has the smallest diameter culvert,” she said.

The proposed council fee would allow the town to purchase and install properly sized culverts uniformly as needed.

Robinson said that the monthly fee, which he proposed to be a part of the town’s utility bill, would be somewhere in the $3 a month range.

“It wouldn’t be too high for residents on fixed income. That’s about the cost of three soft drinks a month,” said Trina Carter of Administrative Resource associates, the town’s grant writing firm.

With a $3 monthly fee town residents would generate around $23,000 a year for drainage. Businesses, industries, the school and local churches would pay more but on a proportional basis to what residences pay.

If, for instance, the town approves a $3 monthly residential fee, and it is determined an average residence has 3,000 square feet of impervious surface, then a business or other non-residential entitity with three times that hard surface could expect to pay $9 monthly.

After the meeting, Carter noted that to be eligible for future drainage grants, communities with a monthly storm water fee of $3 fared more successfully in getting approval for state and federal assistance with drainage projects.

No decision was made but the council agreed to continue discussions on a proposed local stormwater fee assessment.