CHATTANOOGA, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Chattanooga will have collected almost $43 million in water quality fees by the end of next fiscal year after raising stormwater fees two years ago.

The money has paid for repairs to drainage ditches, water tests in creeks that flow through the city and planning.

"It's building up a fund that will allow us to take on some major projects," Mayor Ron Littlefield said Friday. "We have parts of the city that have been in a holding pattern for decades."

The nonresidential water quality -- or stormwater -- rate is scheduled to rise automatically when property tax bills go out in October. The increase is part of Littlefield's plan to ramp up the commercial stormwater fee to the same level as the residential rate within five years.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.