Monday, July 13, 2009

More Answers to Stormwater Questions

Q. How was the fee determined?

A. The stormwater utility fee is based on the amount of impervious area that a property contains and is broken down into a three-tiered rate structure for single family residential parcels. This fee was determined by utilizing property classification data from the City Assessor's Office and impervious area calculations from the City's Geographic Information System GIS.

Q. Can the work be divided up over several years?

A. Yes, based on the amount of work needed under the stormwater utility, it will take several years to complete the work that has been identified. Among other things, the stormwater utility will fund operations and regular maintenance of catch basins, drainage ditches, detention ponds and the like, as well as Capital improvement projects to include storm sewer installation, culvert and ditch upgrades, steam restoration, water quality retrofits, and storm drainage master planning and engineering.

Q. Can stimulus funds be used instead of charging the citizens?

A. The stimulus fund dollars are all assigned to specific, already-designed projects that have been prioritized and approved by state agencies. The Department of Public Utilities cannot divert those funds to serve other projects that have not been accepted and approved. As with other vital utility services such as water, sewer or natural gas, the stormwater utility fee is a fee for the service of controlling stormwater runoff.

A. Why isn't this the homeowner's responsibility?

The stormwater utility is the most equitable system because all contributors share the costs of maintaining and improving the storm drainage system. The City of Richmond must meet stringest water regulatory standards by regional and national agencies. Meeting these standards would not be possible by leaving it in the hands of individual homeowners, and if these requirements are not met, the City would incur exorbititant fines that pale in comparison to the amount charged under the stormwater utility fee.

Q. Why is the fee determined by the size of the roof?

The size of the roof, along with other impervious surfaces, is calculated as part of a single family resident's impervious area because water cannot soak through a roof, but runs off it.

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