There will be a public meeting on Monday, December 16 in the Missoula City Council Chambers to discuss the increase in the existing municipal storm water utility rates and the creation of a permanent rate structure to support the utility’s infrastructure.

Interim Public Works Director for the City of Missoula, Dennis Bowman explains the storm water utility system.

“The responsibility of the storm water utility is to protect and maintain the storm water system,” said Bowman. “Due to the Clean Water Act that came out from the federal government a few years ago, we have to protect the aquifer. Part of the $4.21 residential fee is to follow the regulatory requirements of that act, including public education, notification, improvements to the system, and all the maintenance associated with the system.
Bowman explains how the city arrived at the residential rate of $4.21 per month, which is based on the average number of ‘trips’ made by both residents and businesses that impact the streets and thereby the storm water utility system.

“Commercial businesses have more impact, in that there’s more traffic going to those businesses,” he said. “The more traffic going to that business, whether its bicycles, walking, vehicles, trucks, or deliveries, that’s more material going onto the streets that need to be taken care of.”

He explained how the rates were determined.

“We hired FCS Consulting to put together everything we have to do for compliance with the Clean Water Act, and then they turned around and put all the numbers together to come up with the rate,” he said. “Everybody will pay the same thing as an annual rate for the compliance part, and then there’s a trip rate, which means the national average of annual trips per resident. Commercially, say I have a business and I average 20 trips a day to my business, then I pay 27 cents a trip. If you’re a resident and you only have five or six trips a day, then you’ll pay only 27 cents for each of those trips.”

Bowman explained the term ‘trips’.

“Commercial businesses have more impact, in that there’s more traffic going to those businesses,” he said. “The more traffic going to that business, whether its bicycles, walking, vehicles, trucks, or deliveries, that’s more material going onto the streets that need to be taken care of.”

The new rates will be on Missoula Water bills starting February 1, 2020.

There will be a public meeting to discuss the issue on Monday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Missoula City Council Chambers at 140 West Pine Street.