City County Dispute Settled

Upon the request of the Tulsa County fair board, the City of Tulsa has agreed to a stormwater fee credit that will end a dispute over outstanding fees charged to the County for stormwater collection and refuse services at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.

The City agreed to credit the County’s stormwater fees to account for the construction of a stormwater detention facility built prior to the City’s annexation of the fairgrounds in 2009. The Tulsa County fair board voted to accept the credit today.

The detention storage required for the fairgrounds development called for a storage capacity of 8.69 acre feet, however, the fair board agreed to build a facility that totaled 19.15 acre feet in order to contribute to the City’s Coal Creek Master Drainage Plan. The excess storage capacity, built in 2004, exceeded the requirement for the facility at that time, and benefited other downstream property owners.

Public Works Director Charles Hardt offered a one-time construction credit of $393,160.02 for the 10.46 acre feet of excess capacity provided by the fairgrounds. In addition, the City agreed to reduce the monthly stormwater billing, crediting the County for excess storage provided. An additional credit of $55,083.60 for the continued benefits of the excess storage capacity will be applied to the fairgrounds accounts to adjust billings from the January 2009 annexation through July 2010.

The balance due to the City of Tulsa for stormwater fees is $301,395.54. The credits will be applied to the Fairgrounds outstanding bill for stormwater and refuse services to cover the current balance. The remaining credit will cover future billing cycles for approximately four months. Once the credit has been depleted, the City will begin billing for Fairgrounds stormwater and refuse services at approximately $13,000 per month.

Following the City Council’s rejection of a proposed settlement to the fee dispute, fairgrounds officials requested a credit for the excess storage capacity. According to a City ordinance, any developer or property owner that builds a stormwater detention facility in the city in accordance with a City of Tulsa master drainage plan may seek a construction credit from the City, as well as a monthly credit for providing excess storage.

Mayor Bartlett, who brought both entities to the table in a mediation months ago, is now glad the dispute is over and the fee issue is resolved. “Before the mediation, there was no discussion on how the issue could be resolved,” Mayor Bartlett said. “In the end, the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa County officials truly reached an agreement wherein both parties could acknowledge benefits and continue to work within the original memorandum of understanding reached following annexation.”

The Coal Creek Master Drainage Plan is part City’s Public Works Department floodplain management program, which annually receives the nation’s 2nd highest rating among all US cities.