MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) -- Madison residents could see an added fee as early as next year if a proposed ordinance is approved.
Monday night, the Madison City Council had its first reading of a proposed ordinance to implement storm water management fees, which would affect property owners.
City Engineer Gary Chynoweth said, if passed, the fee would be assessed on a property tax bill.
"In general, it's $10 for each residential property with a house on it," he said, "and then for commercial property, it's a half-cent per square foot."
The city of Madison has been under fire with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, or ADEM, about water quality.
"We are currently under a notice of violation," said Chynoweth, "and under a court order [to fix things.]"
He said the situation could be mitigated by better documentation and pollutant control. A big part of that is better storm water management, he said, because that's a big way pollutants can make it into the water supply.
But the problem, he explains, is it's expensive to do that.
"We don't have the funds to do what they are requiring us to do," he said.
Through a new state law that allows for this, Madison could soon implement storm water fees to fund improvement projects.
They expect street sweeping, clearing silt from pipes, and other actions in natural ditches to improve water flow to be on the list of things to do with the money.
An example can be found on a lot behind the Asbury Thrift Store in Madison, where a fully-approved plan is already in the works to dig a new drainage pond and use the fill to raise the land adjacent to it out of a flood area.
"We can hopefully get people out of the flood fringes," said Chynoweth, "and the people paying for flood insurance, hopefully will be able to get out of that program."
These projects would bring the city back up to compliance with a state mandate affiliated with the Clean Water Act.
The Madison City Council will have a second reading of the ordinance, which includes public comment, at its October 27 meeting. Then it will come up for a vote.
The fee won't be collected until next year, if approved.