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Northampton Stormwater Task Force final report

Northampton Stormwater Task Force final report

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Published by GazetteNET
Northampton Stormwater Task Force final report
Northampton Stormwater Task Force final report

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Published by: GazetteNET on Jul 09, 2013
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08/28/2013

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City Of Northampton Storm Water Ad-HocAdvisory TaskforceFindings / Recommendations Report
Taskforce Members
Rick Clark James DostalDan Felten – Committee Vice Chair Emery Ford – Committee ChairmanAlex GhiselinChris HellmanRuth McGrathMegan Murphy Wolf Robert ReckmanJohn ShenetteDavid Teece
July 2013
 
1
 
Introduction
 Northampton enjoys a wonderful location; the Connecticut River runs to the east, views of theBerkshire foothills to the west and views of the valley and mountains to the south. With all thiscomes exposure to flooding from the Connecticut River and the Mill River west of town.When it rains the water runs off the hills on its way to the Connecticut River.That means Northampton and its people face the problem of flooding from the west, the hillsand the Mill River and from the Connecticut River. The city has infrastructure, much of itgreater than 100 years old, to deal with runoff from storm water and levees to protect it fromthe Mill River and Connecticut River. Northampton faces compliance issues from both the United States Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA) and the Army Corp of Engineers to update and upgrade both storm water runoff and flood control. This will require expenditures over several years. The requirements aremandatory, not a matter of choice.The Joint Committee of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the City Councilappointed an ad hoc committee (taskforce) with members from all Northampton city wards and other affected areas to recommend a fair and equitable method to fund storm water and flood control mandates. The committee met nearly weekly for over three months, deliberating in publicized meetings. An audio and video recording http://www.youtube.com/northassocvideoof each meeting was published on the internet and linked to the DPW website.(http://www.northamptonma.gov/dpw/engineering/floodctrl/).The May 2012 report “Storm water and Flood Control System Assessment and Utility Plan” byCamp Dresser & McKee Inc. (CDM) was a useful resource during our discussions. The reportdid an assessment of the city’s storm water and flood control infrastructure and looked at arange of budgetary issues including current and future funding allocations and the creation of anew utility to fund future work. It also looked at a series of specific drainage and erosion problem areas in the City, and projected costs necessary to address each situation.The recommendations in the CDM report related to these specific cases were viewed by thetaskforce as examples of the scope – in planning, implementation and funding of such projects,rather than a “to do” list of future city work. In fact, the examples included in the CDM reportrepresent only some of the drainage and erosion problems that currently exist.The committee is issuing this report to the joint committee with the recommendation that a feeis the fairest and most equitable way to pay for the needed expenditures for storm water runoff management and flood control.Both rain water runoff and flooding impact all residents, it seems fair that everyone share in theexpense together via a fair and equitable fee.The report suggests two possible formulas for determining a fee for residents. The two feesrecommended were developed by the committee after reviewing formulas used by other 

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