Fayette County

Few turn out for sewer fee hearing

Only nine people turned out Tuesday to tell the Urban County Council what they thought of a new storm-sewer fee, and most supported it.

Several council members said they had expected more opposition.

"I'm surprised that more people didn't object, but I believe it's a very good program," Councilman Ed Lane said after the 25-minute meeting. He praised Councilwoman Linda Gorton, who led a task force that spent several months coming up with details of the fee.

Another meeting to get feedback will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Government Center, 200 East Main Street.

Chad Harpole of Commerce Lexington, which represents the city's business interests, said his organization will speak at that meeting.

It will offer "suggestions, improvements and changes," he said, adding that specifics are still being worked out.

Harpole had earlier said that Commerce Lexington supports a fee to improve the way the city handles storm water but questions whether it should be imposed while the economy is in recession.

Imposing a fee is part of an agreement the city signed last year with the Environmental Protection Agency, which had charged that the city is harming streams in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The proposed fee would be $4.32 a month for single-family homes, duplexes and farm parcels. Stores, schools, churches and factories would pay $4.32 for every 2,500 square feet of driveway, parking lot, roof or other impervious surface. If the council approves the fee, it would take about six months to start collections.