Storm Water Management FAQs
What is storm water runoff?
Storm water runoff is rainfall that drains from rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, roads, and other surfaces that prohibit rainfall from soaking into the ground. The storm water runoff then flows into the City drainage system and into our local creeks and rivers. In addition to flooding problems, storm water runoff washes chemicals, debris, trash and other pollutants into the drainage system and our local surface waters.
What storm water services are provided by the City of St. Marys?
The City is responsible for the management of storm water runoff and drainage issues within the City’s public drainage system. The City must undertake various activities including the cleaning of ditches and pipe systems, repair of aging culverts and catch basins, and construction of new infrastructure to improve storm water drainage. The City has performed a survey of flooding issues throughout the City and has determined that there are over $7 million of capital drainage projects that need to be addressed. Aging infrastructure, a lack of resources to implement important drainage projects, and State and Federal regulatory requirements have driven the City’s need to develop and implement a more comprehensive storm water management program.
How will St. Marys meet the challenge of storm water management?
The City has created a storm water utility fund dedicated solely to addressing storm water management and drainage issues. The storm water user fee will provide the ongoing resources necessary for the City to deliver comprehensive, effective, and essential storm water services to residents, businesses, institutions, and government facilities. Strong storm water management is as crucial to the safety of our citizens and their properties as other vital services such as fire and police departments.
What is a Storm Water User Fee?
A storm water user fee is a charge for storm water management services provided by the City to all developed properties in the City. A storm water user fee is similar to water and sewer fees, which are monthly charges for the customer’s use of the City’s water and sewer system. The storm water user fee revenue collected can only be utilized for the provision of storm water management services to customers, just as water and sewer fees are used only to fund water and sewer operations and projects.
How does the City determine the storm water user fee charge for an individual property?
The storm water user fee charge will be based on the amount of impervious surfaces on a parcel. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, rooftops, buildings or structures, sidewalks, walkways, patio areas, driveways, parking lots, storage areas, awnings, fabric or plastic coverings, and other surfaces such as compacted soil and gravel. The square footage of impervious surface on a property has a direct correlation to the amount of storm water runoff discharged from that property.
How is my storm water user fee calculated?
The storm water user fee will be based on a billing unit of 3,700 square feet of impervious surface. The billing unit of 3,700 square feet is the approximate median of impervious area on a typical single-family parcel. Single family residential (SFR) properties will be charged a flat rate of 1.0 billing unit per month. Non-single family residential (NSFR) properties will be charged a custom user fee based on the total impervious area on the property. For example, if a commercial site had 37,000 square feet of impervious surface, that customer would be charged 10 billing units per month.
37,000 square feet of impervious surface/3,700 square feet = 10 billing units
How much will customers be charged per billing unit?
The proposed storm water user fee rate is $5.00 per billing unit per month.
Why did St. Marys decide to implement a storm water user fee charge?
The City has evaluated the feasibility of charging a storm water user fee as opposed to increasing property tax millage and has determined that the user fee approach is a more fair and equitable way to allocate costs of services. Under a storm water utility, the user fee is not based on the assessed “value” of a property, like ad-valorem taxes, rather it is based on the demand that each customer imposes on the drainage system and the corresponding storm water services provided.
Will there be any way to reduce my storm water user fee?
Yes, both residential and non-residential customers may be eligible for credits to reduce their storm water user fee charge. The credits will be based on specific activities that the customer undertakes with regard to their property to reduce the impact of storm water runoff on the City’s drainage system. The City is in the process of developing the procedures for obtaining credits, which will be outlined in the City’s Storm Water User Fee Credit Manual.
What is the proposed billing frequency and the billing mechanism?
The City anticipates charging the storm water user fees on the City’s monthly utility bill beginning in summer 2020. If you do not currently receive a utility bill from the City, you would receive a storm water-only utility bill beginning in summer 2020.
Who do I call if I have additional questions?
Please submit all questions to email@example.com or use the water bill payment dropbox located on the Dillingham side of City Hall.