CHENEY: City takes step toward storm utility

By Travis Mounts

CHENEY – The Cheney City Council took a step toward the possible creation of a storm water utility at last Thursday’s regular monthly meeting.

Charter Ordinance 24 was approved and is published in full in this week’s Times-Sentinel.

Cheney city clerk Danielle Young said the ordinance exempts the city from certain parts of the Kansas Water Pollution Act, as allowed under state law. The ordinance does not in any way establish a storm water utility, but is a necessary legal step that would allow the council to move forward with creating a storm water utility, if the council members choose to do so.

The ordinance takes effect in 61 days and must be published twice in the city’s legal newspaper. The ordinance will appear in The Times-Sentinel again on March 23.

The ordinance can be challenged by petition. A successful challenge would require the city to hold an election on the ordinance. The city went through this process years ago when it approved Sunday liquor sales. That issue went to an election, where voters approved it.

City leaders are considering the creation of a storm water utility to address drainage issues in the city. A number of cities have a storm water utility. One possible drainage issue that has been discussed is flooding that happens on South Main Street when heavy rain occurs.

So far, the city does not have any specific plans for how the utility would be set up, what fees would be or what drainage issues would be addressed. The city has looked into a storm water utility several times in the past, but no council has moved forward on action.

A regular ordinance will be required before the city could create a storm water utility.