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Surprise Approves Proposed $2 Stormwater Fee To Maintain, Upgrade Infrastructure

(Photo courtesy Terry Lowe - Surprise)
Flooding from 2013 renders a Surprise intersection un-passable.

Major flooding problems in Surprise means residents might see an extra fee on their monthly water bill.

In 2013, a rainy year in Surprise led to submerged intersections and stranded residents, prompting city council to look for ways to maintain the stormwater infrastructure. That includes gutters, curbs, pipes and washes.

Right now general fund money is used, but the City Council recently approved a proposed $2 stormwater fee added to the monthly water bill of Surprise residents.

Terry Lowe, water resource management director, said the extra cash flow will be vital for Surprise in the long term.

“The big thing is maintenance," Lowe said. "This is the first step to creating a focused group with a dedicated funding source.”

He said Surprise's stormwater infrastructure isn't vastly different than other cities in the Valley, but it needs attention.

“There’s not a lot of storm pipe. Some, but not a lot," he said. "Most run over the land, and we have retention basins and detention basins that aren’t interlinked either.”

The fee would go into effect November.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to clarify the status of the fee.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.