Residents Have Mixed Reaction to Plan to Raise Des Moines Storm Sewer Rates

DES MOINES, Iowa--  Des Moines city leaders voted to raise storm sewer rates for all residents to pay for much needed repairs in neighborhoods that have seen constant flooding as the antiquated storm sewer system fails to keep up with heavy rainfall.

Some people at Monday's meeting back that decision.  "Please keep the storm sewer project a priority this is not something that can be passed aside," resident Gloria Hoffman said.

But not others don’t.  “I am against the hike we have a storm water utility fund that comes from user fees," resident James Wayman said.

The plan approved by the City Council will raise storm sewer rates for the next five years.  By the year 2023 taxpayers will shell out $16.35 a month.   That’s nearly $4.00 more than they pay now.  The five-year hike will generate an extra $25 million.  At the end of five years the increases will disappear.

The money will go towards accelerating four storm sewer projects, with most of it going to the "Closes Creek Project" in the Beaverdale neighborhood.  “$15 million is being pumped into Closes Creek Watershed and then another $10 is being pumped city wide to include areas all over town," Des Moines City Engineer Steve Nabar said.  The project includes new sewage pipes and detention basins.

The project is already underway and was scheduled to be completed in 10 years.  With the extra revenue from the new rate hike it can now be finished in just five years.

The other three  Des Moines watershed projects that will be funded by the increase are the Hamilton drain, Leetown Creekway, and Easter Lake.  No new time line was announced on when those projects will be completed.