Why is the City imposing a stormwater user fee now?
The City has provided stormwater infrastructure and services for some time. However, several recent federal and state laws have increased the cost of providing these services, including a requirement that the City obtain a permit as a Small Municipal Stormwater Sewer System. This permit requires that the City develop and maintain a stormwater management program to reduce the amount of pollutants carried by stormwater during storm events to waterbodies to the “maximum extent practicable.” The City determined that the most efficient way to comply with these requirements for many years to come is to establish a stormwater utility funded by a stable and dedicated funding source.

In addition, climate change is increasing the demands placed on the City’s stormwater services. In the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the United States Global Change Research Program stated that the Northeast region of the United States is experiencing increased precipitation as a result of climate change, including “more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events” over the last fifty years, “a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the United States.” (http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/northeast#narrative-page-16957.)

Finally, the costs associated with recent issues such as the ice jams of January 2014, needed Flood Control Channel dredging, and maintenance of our channeled streams required that the City consider new sources of stormwater funding.

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1. Why is the City imposing a stormwater user fee now?
2. How was the stormwater user fee established?
3. Why isn’t funding for the stormwater program just included in my property taxes?
4. Do other cities have stormwater user fees?