Weirton continues work toward stormwater compliance
WEIRTON – Weirton City Council has re-enacted a portion of city code in order to comply with a federal mandate concerning stormwater management and surface water discharge in the city.
Council passed the first reading of an amended 25-page ordinance on Monday by a vote of 5-0. Councilmembers David Dalrymple and Ronnie Jones were not in attendance.
The city has been mandated to enact such legislation by the federal and state governments in order to comply with the Clean Water Act. Under the federal mandate, municipalities are required to control illicit discharges to storm drain systems, reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges, control stormwater runoff through improvements to the stormwater collection system.
The goal is to improve water quality in streams receiving stormwater discharges and eliminate flooding as a result of stormwater accumulation.
Before passage, Ward 4 Councilman George Ash expressed concern with the wording of one portion of the ordinance.
Section 956.03 of the ordinance initially required a super majority vote in order to set any user fees to recover the costs of implementing the stormwater control systems. Ash noted, under the city’s charter, Weirton City Council is to pass legislation only by a majority vote.
“Therefore, I think we’re in violation of our city charter by doing that,” Ash said.
City Attorney Vince Gurrera agreed with Ash’s assessment.
The portion of the ordinance was amended to now read “the city council shall, by ordinance, set user fees which will recover from users their fair share of costs for use of the stormwater system by property within the service area. Such user fees will be for the operation and maintenance of, improvements to, necessary additions to, and environmental compliance programs for the stormwater system.”
It was noted by members of council passage of the ordinance has not implemented any fees on city residents at this time.
Weirton City Council has been working for the last several years to become fully compliant with the requirements of the federal mandate.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)