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Restaurant owner in favor of Stormwater Utility Fee after business flooded multiple times

1 year 8 months 1 week ago Wednesday, October 12 2022 Oct 12, 2022 October 12, 2022 6:56 PM October 12, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Wednesday afternoon, storm clouds loomed over Mestizo's on Acadian Thruway. It was a grim reminder for owner Jim Urdiales of what could happen any time it rains. 

“The whole restaurant has flooded four different times in five years," Urdiales said.

A Stormwater Utility Fee being introduced to the Metro Council could be the solution to the flooding and drainage issues that plague low-lying areas of East Baton Rouge Parish.

After the reoccurring damage to his business, Urdiales says the extra fee is a worthy investment, as long as the parish government is transparent with their plans for the money.

"What I do want to see is some metrics of when it will be implemented, how soon. I think we need to have clarity on how the money is going to be used instead of just passing a straight fee with no accountability."

According to the Stormwater Public Utility District website, the fee will be calculated based on how much impervious material is present on a property. Impervious materials could be anything that stunts the flow of drainage, such as sidewalks, buildings and parking lots.

While Urdiales says his fee would only be around $100 per month, some say they might be on the hook for a lot more. James Womack, a farmer in Zachary, fears he may owe as much as $11K if the fee passes.

The first informational meeting is Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Main Library.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the amount the property would owe for the proposed stormwater fee.

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