Fee will be unpopular, but other choices worse

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Next year, every locality in the state of Virginia will adopt a new mandatory stormwater program as required by the Commonwealth, and after a difficult year dealing with floods and rivers of water running down the city streets, it couldn’t have come at a better time for Galax.
On top of the unusual amount of rainfall this year, the city is dealing with an aging stormwater system, with some sections falling in due to old age. Structures that were strong when they were first built have been worn down by the elements and the spike in commercialization, and pipes are so full of sediment in some places that water can’t even run through them properly.
Of course, with the required program comes the issue of how to pay for it, and although the city’s stormwater system has been the topic of criticism this year, there might be some backlash if residents are stuck with a monthly fee for the service.
It will no doubt be unpopular, but a fee is the least painful way to address this growing problem. With a fee, the stormwater improvements can be tackled without having to dip into other areas of the annual budget, like emergency services or education.
And with other localities proposing $6-7 fees to cover their stormwater programs, Galax still comes out as more affordable with its $3 proposal.
And while some may find an extra $36 a year unfair, those who have already paid for flood damage might find it a fair trade to avoid future problems.