Snellville previews stormwater management plans

SNELLVILLE - Integrated Science and Engineering, the firm Snellville leaders have contracted with to design a stormwater management plan for the city, presented a preview of the plan Monday.

Ron Feldman, an ISE representative instrumental in designing Snellville's plan, gave an overview of what is in store for city residents and businesses with regard to a proposed stormwater utility.

Gwinnett County implemented a stormwater utility in 2006, as a way to fund necessary infrastructure improvements and to identify and plan for compliance with more stringent state requirements. Snellville officials felt they could provide better service to city residents and businesses at a lower rate than the county assesses.

Feldman told the audience at Monday's City Council meeting that ISE has identified 4,100 city drainage structures, 15 percent of which are in immediate need of repair or replacement. The estimated cost of these initial projects is about $1.9 million. The estimated annual cost of the stormwater utility in Snellville is between $950,000 and $1.2 million.

The fee assessed to each site, residential or non-residential, will be based on the amount of impervious square footage of the individual site.

"A utility is fair," said Feldman, since sites with more impervious areas generate more water runoff and pollutant discharge.

A meeting in which residents can meet one-on-one with city officials and ISE staff members is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Community Room at City Hall. The forum will give residents the chance to ask more specific questions about the Snellville stormwater utility.

City leaders squabble over board appointments

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer nominated an appointment to the Board of Appeals Post 1 on Monday, and the appointment was met with resistance from Mayor Pro Tem Warren Auld and Councilwoman Kelly Kautz. Auld expressed concern that, since the city currently has no city manager, a new Board of Appeals member could not be properly trained.

Kautz announced she would oppose any board appointments made during the council meeting, as she had only recently been informed of the intended appointments and did not know whether their qualifications were sufficient. Oberholtzer said Kautz was not being truthful and was indeed familiar with the Board of Appeals nominee. Kautz demanded an apology, and Oberholtzer refused to give her one.

The mayor added he has repeatedly asked council members for their nominees but has not received a single name from anyone.

"This isn't about training or anything else. These people have to have experience and training by the city manager? That's new," Oberholtzer said.

"I'd like for all of us to get along, but I can't set aside what I think is important," said Kautz, after apologizing to citizens for arguing from the bench.

Two of the three nominees Oberholtzer named Monday were not appointed, but James van Valkenburg was successfully appointed to the city's Recreation Board.