At this week’s Lubbock City Council meeting, council members discussed possible changes to the city’s new stormwater rates implemented in January.

The new rates are based on impervious area rather than the number of meters on a property, which has caused some residences and businesses to incur large increases in costs.

Council members discussed the issue at length during the work session and reconvened in open session where they heard many citizens comment on the negative impact of the new rates. Many said the rate was tantamount to a hidden tax. One citizen asked for impervious area to be redefined and also asked the council to set a cap on stormwater rates in relation to property tax rates.

The council voted down a resolution to reconstitute the ad hoc committee that presented the updated stormwater rate recommendations 3-4 with council members Jim Gerlt, Jeff Griffith, Karen Gibson and Mayor Robertson dissenting.

Councilman Victor Hernandez said he wanted the issue sent back to committee to allow methodically thought-through recommendations to be made rather than council members making a ‘knee-jerk’ decision.

“There’s always going to be inequities in the system and you’re going to upset people. I want to put this to bed as best we can.”

Another agenda item included a majority and minority report from a committee, which Mayor Robertson and Councilman Griffith said set forth a dangerous precedent.

“It’s really kind of funny that this discussion is following the previous ordinance consideration because there were remarks made on that dias about, ‘we need not bypass the committees’” said Hernandez. “The truth of the matter is, we have a process in place and we use that process.”