Metro Stormwater Projects On Hold Due To Lack Of Funding

Posted at 10:32 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 23:32:25-05

Metro Nashville's growth might be outpacing its infrastructure, as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stormwater projects are now backlogged.

Metro Council Member, and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, John Cooper said new stormwater projects have been suspended until more funding can be made available.

There are currently $100 million worth of projects proposed all across the city.  These projects range from clearing storm drains to fixing pipes.

Currently, money from a storm water fee that was put in place in 2009, covers the cost of maintaining the current system, but doesn’t pay for new projects.

Cooper said possible solutions include increasing the storm water fee, or general obligation bonds.

“I imagine a small fee increase and some general obligation funding can go a long way in solving the problem,” said Cooper.  “People working out the differences, and being willing to be flexible to fund what is a basic need.”

Cooper added the situation isn’t a crisis, but in a city prone to flooding, it does need to be addressed.

“The fact that we have run out of money halfway through the fiscal year,” said Cooper.  “It is a question to get the council redirected back to infrastructure needs.”

A spokesperson for Metro Water Services said Director Scott Potter presented to the Metro Council last week regarding the stormwater program’s successes and shortfalls.  She added, “We look forward to an open dialogue regarding the future of the program.”

No one in Mayor Megan Barry’s office could be reached for comment.

Cooper said he believed Mayor Barry would make a recommendation on how to handle the issue at the beginning of 2017, and then council members would decide how to proceed.