Photo by Keli Clark

Background

Much of Norman’s stormwater system is over capacity and can’t sustain the demands of our growing city. The Norman Stormwater Citizen Committee was created to develop options to fund solutions that are critical to address flooding and water quality in Norman.

The Committee developed a two-part proposal to repair and upgrade our aging stormwater system, reduce the impact of flooding and improve water quality in Norman. Part one includes a $59 Million Bond. Part two includes a Utility Fee. 
Download the full Proposal here 


Part One: $59 Million Bond

Norman’s stormwater systems are up to 100 years old and due for repairs, upgrades and expansion. A $59 million General Obligation bond will fund 33 critical stormwater projects with the aim of reducing flooding across Norman. A General Obligation bond is a low-risk loan that cities typically acquire to fund capital improvement projects. Work under the bond would include:

Repairs and Upgrades

  1. Replacing damaged culverts, pipes or channels
  2. Stabilizing damaged streambanks
  3. Acquiring properties in the floodway or floodplain
  4. Expanding existing detention ponds
  5. Incorporating green infrastructure such as rain gardens
    See full list of the 33 proposed bond projects here 

Bond Repayment

The bond would be repaid by raising property taxes for residential and non-residential properties in Norman. The increases would be based on the property’s market value. Estimated increases are provided below. For properties that have a market value of more than $300,000, taxes would increase accordingly.  

  • $3.40 per month ($100,000 market value)
  • $5.25 per month ($150,000 market value)
  • $7.11 per month ($200,000 market value)
  • $10.82 per month ($300,000 market value)
 Lindsey St Bridge over Imhoff Creek before capital improvement - 2016

Lindsey St Bridge over Imhoff Creek before capital improvement - 2016

 Lindsey St Bridge over Imhoff Creek after capital improvement - 2017

Lindsey St Bridge over Imhoff Creek after capital improvement - 2017


Part Two: A Utility Fee

The City currently spends approximately $3 million from the General Fund and has employs fewer than 20 employees in the City’s Stormwater Division to manage:

  • Norman’s vast Stormwater system of 197 miles of existing stormwater channels, 150 miles of stormwater pipelines, two high hazard dams, 73 major bridges, and more than 500 culverts and bridges
  • Water quality improvement projects in Lake Thunderbird and the Canadian River
  • Efforts to minimize stormwater pollution across the entire city as detailed in the Stormwater Management Plan and required by ODEQ and EPA

In order to adequately address the stormwater needs listed above, the Committee believes an annual budget of approximately $7.4 million is needed.

In addition to the $3 million from General Fund, the Committee recommends a utility fee to help raise a portion of the funds needed to reach the budget goal. This would increase a) daily operations and management of existing stormwater infrastructure and b) projects that improve the water quality of Lake Thunderbird. 
See a list of proposed projects and activities here 

Projects to improve water quality in Lake Thunderbird include:

  1. Detecting and eliminating illegal dumping in storm drains
  2. Preventing or reducing runoff from construction sites and municipal operations
  3. Controlling soil erosion in our local creeks and streams
  4. Monitoring water pollution levels in the Lake
  5. Inspecting discharges from industrial and municipal facilities

Learn about the water pollution reduction activities required in Lake Thunderbird here 


Residential Utility Fee Structures

Under the utility fee proposal, the Committee proposed three fee structures for residential properties, which are defined as single family properties. There are two flat fee options and one based on square footage of the home. Low income households are eligible for a 30% discount under each fee structure.
Download the proposed rate structure options here 

  *When combined with non-residential fee structure

*When combined with non-residential fee structure


Non-Residential Utility Fee Structure

The Committee proposed a four-tier rate structure for non-residential properties, which includes small and large businesses, government properties, schools, churches, multi-family properties, and apartment complexes.

Duplexes, multiplexes, townhomes, properties with garage apartments, and others with more than four dwelling units on a single parcel will be considered non-residential for billing purposes. Undeveloped parcels will not be charged a stormwater utility fee.

The fee is calculated using parcel size. Parcel size is the area of land contained within your property lines and is measured in acres. The information below comes from the Cleveland County Assessor and the City of Norman GIS map.

Residential Chart V2_Funding_GraphicV1.jpg
 'Lake McGee' before capital improvement, 2015

'Lake McGee' before capital improvement, 2015

 'Lake McGee' after capital improvement, 2018

'Lake McGee' after capital improvement, 2018