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MSD rate hike includes change to storm water fee

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Metropolitan Sewer District wants to change how it charges customers for storm water removal. Right now, every customer pays a flat rate ($0.24 a month), regardless of the property's size.

But MSD spokesman Lance LeComb says a proposal under consideration would charge landowners based on how much of their land can't absorb rainwater.

"If you have a backyard that's all grass, that's going to soak up a lot of the rainwater and you're going to put less demand onto the storm water system," LeComb said, in an interview.

"But if in your backyard, let's say you have a 100 x 100 foot area that's cement or blacktop, that's an area that's going to be creating a runoff into the storm water system."

That means each customer would pay a different amount, which MSD would determine from aerial photos of everyone's land.

The change is part of a larger rate increase that's working through the approval process. Sewer bills won't go up until at least next year.

MSD predicts the change in storm water fee structure will mean higher bills for customers in St. Louis City, but some County residents might actually pay less for storm water removal. That's because there are some areas in the County where landowners pay a separate property tax (on top of their utility bill) for storm water removal.

Those taxing districts would go away with the new proposal.

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