Weekend storms may revive MSD rate hike plan at Metro Council

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The storms that inundated Louisville with heavy rain this weekend and led to a flooding-related death may revive an effort by the Metro Council to help pay for upgrades to the city’s stormwater system.

Council President David James said Monday that he plans to introduce a bipartisan measure in the coming months that would let the Metropolitan Sewer District use proceeds from a rate increase to fund “safety projects.”

Saturday was the fifth-wettest September day ever in Louisville, with 3.8 inches of rainfall, according to the National Weather Service. The storms that soaked the area Saturday night caused flooding in parts of the city, resulting in closed roads and drivers stranded in rising water.

A Yellow Cab employee died when the cab he was driving entered the flooded intersection of West Oak and 13th streets. He was trapped in the car and died at the scene, authorities said.

“We’ve had a death related to infrastructure issues with MSD and stormwater,” James said Monday. “It’s something that I’ve been fearing and talking about for a few months now, and now it’s happened.”

Referring to potential Metro Council action to let MSD raise rates, James said, “I really think that it’s something that we have to get done.” He told reporters that a four-year rate increase would be subject to council oversight to ensure the additional revenue from ratepayers is spent properly.

Council members are consulting with Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s office on language James said would “strengthen the ordinance.”

An ordinance sponsored by James and fellow Democrat Barbara Sexton Smith and Republican Stuart Benson failed to gain traction at the council earlier this year. MSD has been seeking to raise its rates by an additional 3.3 percent each year, but it needs council approval for any annual increases higher than 6.9 percent.

Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.