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What are the Keys to Implementing a Successful Stormwater Utility?

A well-thought out and thorough stormwater utility program can reap many benefits for a community. In the case of the City of Lynchburg, their first year of stormwater utility fee collections exceed expectations – by $400,000 with a collection rate over 95%. The success of their program can be a model for other localities considering a utility fee – early community involvement, understandable fee structure, and clear billing procedures. Read more about their accomplishments here: http://www.newsadvance.com/news/article_69f931cc-5948-11e2-a418-001a4bcf6878.html...

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Lynchburg Tables Fee, Approves Concept of a Stormwater Utility

[caption id="attachment_523" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Members of City Council (left to right, front) are Ceasor T. Johnson, M.RE., D.D., Ward II Representative; Joan F. Foster, At Large Representative; Michael A. Gillette, Ph.D. Ward I Representative; (2nd row left to right) J. Randolph (Randy) Nelson, At Large Representative; Turner Perrow, Jr., Ward IV Representative; Jeff S. Helgeson, MSFS, Ward III Representative; and Hunsdon "H" Cary, III, At Large Representative."][/caption] I may be beginning to sound like a broken record, but stormwater management is here to stay and the regulations keep coming to prove it!  How are municipalities going to afford to meet the requirements of the new (and future) laws and regulations?  Increase taxes or impose a fee? Pay through the general fund or a separate utility? Like Lynchburg, many communities, particularly the MS4 permit communities, have already begun the dialogue to implement a stormwater utility fee. These decisions are certainly not easy, and...

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Stormwater Planning – 2014 is Just Around the Corner?

Stormwater utilities and fees are not a new concept– many areas across the Country have had utilities and fees since the early 1990s – and, with the increase emphasis of stormwater quality, spear headed by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and other mandates, municipalities throughout the Commonwealth need to find alternate sources of revenue to support a local or regional stormwater program.  It’s time to start planning early – 2014 will be here before we know it.  Communities, including the City of Roanoke, see the writing on the walls and are starting the dialogue on how to fund stormwater management requirements and mandates to be handed down as part of the new Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations and/or MS4 permits.  There are many options on the table - a stormwater utility fee, appropriation of the general funds and potential tax increases, and cooperative regionalization of stormwater management.  Regardless of the funding mechanism, one...

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Facing the Challenges of a Stormwater Utility

Stormwater utility fees are coming….the ripple effect of the latest USEPA mandates for the Chesapeake Bay watershed is being felt throughout the Commonwealth. With these mandates and future more stringent state and federal regulations on the horizon, municipalities need a source of funding to develop programs and construct projects that control and reduce the volume and quality of stormwater runoff. The process of developing a stormwater utility program and fee structure is a long one, but, as in the City of Lynchburg, these are conversations that need to begin - and soon - with public education as the main focus. As the waves of stormwater regulations pick up speed and momentum, engaging the public early and throughout the program will pay dividends in the future, both politically and for the environment. Storm Water Challenges Vex the City By The News & Advance Published: May 04, 2011 If you want some idea of the result when storm...

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A Perspective on Stormwater Utilities

In a recent opinion letter to the Richmond Times Dispatch, former Secretary of Natural Resources, L. Preston Bryant Jr. highlighted the critical role that localities play in the efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Controlling runoff from agricultural land, improving sewage treatment plant discharge, and urban stormwater runoff are the three primary contributors to the bay pollution. Mr. Bryant indicates that implementing a stormwater utility has been and will continue to be a method for localities to deal with this concern. Having worked with the City of Staunton, Virginia on the implementation of their stormwater utility, I can attest to one of the big challenges that Mr. Bryant brings up in his article, namely, that they are not popular with the public. As seen through stories, of both successes and failures, from municipalities in Virginia and throughout the country, public education is the primary key in implementing and maintaining a...

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