The Simi Valley City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on whether to nearly quadruple a fee residents pay to keep storm water from carrying pollutants through the streets.
The council will also consider applying for a permit to launch a federally mandated program to monitor and purify storm water.
City staff is recommending that the council approve charging nearly $20 per household to cover the $733,000 annual cost of the city's Storm Water Management Program, Deputy Public Works Director Mike Kleinbrodt said.
The program provides street and storm drain cleaning, as well as safe removal of hazardous waste.
Last year, the council rejected a similar staff recommendation, approving an assessment of $5.25 per household, which raised less than $200,000. The rest of the funds came from the city Sanitation District's share of property tax revenues.
Councilman Bill Davis said he would oppose any increase over last year's fee.
"I can understand why staff would want to recover the entire cost of the program, but I have a real concern right now in raising any fees," Davis said. "With so many houses busted up in the earthquake, this is not the time to hammer on people."
In a related matter, the council will consider approving a countywide application for a federally mandated program to rid storm water of pollution.
Simi Valley, the county and its other nine cities recently formed the Ventura County Storm Water Management Task Force to share the costs of a storm pollution control program required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The district's first tasks are to put together a storm water management proposal and get a pollution removal permit from the EPA.
By acting as part of a larger district, Simi Valley reduces its share of the cost of these tasks. So far, the city has contributed $127,000 to the cost of preparing the proposal, less than half the estimated cost of applying alone, Kleinbrodt said.
In addition, if the city acted alone, it could be required to construct as many as five water-monitoring stations, at a cost of $50,000 each.
With the task force, however, only three additional stations may be required countywide.
Two of those stations are planned for Simi Valley, along the Arroyo Simi. The first is planned for the Alamo Street overpass between Wanda and Jasmine Glen avenues. The second is slated for the Heywood Street overpass between Erringer Road and Morley Street.
The location of a third, agricultural water-monitoring station has not been decided.
There are two monitoring stations in Oxnard, and one each in Camarillo and in Ventura.