Stormwater Enterprise Fund
Town Council voted to approve the Stormwater Utility Fee on June 21.
Town Council requested that a Stormwater Stakeholders Committee (SSC) be formed in order to evaluate and develop a stormwater fee program for consideration and approval.
On December 17, 2015, the SSC presented their recommendation to Town Council during a work session. This recommendation included a stormwater utility fee structure and rate.
A public information session and open house about the proposed stormwater enterprise fund was held on Thursday, February 18 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Town Hall.
Town staff brought forth a formal recommendation before Town Council on April 26, 2016. Town Council approved the proposed stormwater utility fee in June 2016.
Have a question or comment? Contact the Engineering Department at (540) 382-6120.
What is a stormwater enterprise fund?
Like all other urbanized areas in Virginia, Christiansburg is bound by law to proactively keep stormwater pollution from entering creeks and streams. These state and federal requirements make it necessary for the Town to invest in stormwater management programs, activities, and capital projects.
The resources needed to operate and maintain the stormwater drainage system, fund stormwater capital projects, and comply with the Virginia Stormwater Management Program and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program requirements amount to 1-2 million dollars annually (this figure may vary depending on the availability of other funds, such as grant monies, each year). Without a dedicated source of funding, meeting these important community needs would compete for funding with other critical local government services.
A stormwater enterprise fund provides a balanced approach to meet these needs. Similar programs operate throughout communities in Virginia. Numerous localities throughout Virginia have also established stormwater utility fees, including: the Town of Blacksburg and the cities of Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Staunton, and Harrisonburg.
A stormwater utility fee is a component of the stormwater enterprise fund. Funds generated by the stormwater utility fee are only used for stormwater related needs, helping ensure that the Town’s stormwater program is sustainable over time. The Town’s stormwater program is dedicated to implementing capital stormwater projects, addressing stormwater quality improvements, and funding the increased maintenance costs of stormwater infrastructure.
What is a stormwater utility fee?
A stormwater utility fee is included in all utility bills. This fee helps offset the cost of stormwater infrastructure projects and the implementation of state and federally mandated stormwater programs.
To determine a stormwater utility fee, the Town took into account the cost of meeting stormwater requirements and determined the average square footage of impervious surface (hard surfaces that shed rain water, such as driveways, roofs, walkways, and patios) of a residential unit, which set a baseline for the stormwater utility fee.
The average amount of residential impervious surface determines the Stormwater Billing Unit (SBU). A SBU represents the mean value of impervious surface for all single-family residences in town.
A SBU sets a common standard with which to compare larger, non-residential properties and residential properties.One SBU for the Town of Christiansburg equals 3,030 square feet of impervious surface. The SBU is based on the statistical average of impervious areas of single-family residences in town.
What will a stormwater fee cost me?
The Town of Christiansburg’s SBU rate is $6/monthly.
Residential Properties are charged one SBU rate of $6/monthly for each dwelling unit. Such properties include, but are not limited to, single-family houses, duplexes, apartments, townhouses, condominiums, and mobile homes.
Non-residential properties are assessed based on a tiered system. These properties do not serve as dwelling units and may include retail properties, hotels, motels, extended living facilities, restaurants, offices, industrial properties, parking lots, churches, and recreational and cultural facilities.
The tiered system and associated fees are based on multiples of the 3,030 square feet SBU. For example, if a developed non-residential property contains 37,500 square feet of impervious surface, the property is assessed in the tier range of 30,001-40,000 square feet and is billed $59.41/monthly. This fee is calculated by dividing 30,001 (the low end of the tier) by 3,030 (the SBU) and then multiplying by $6 (the SBU rate).
Mixed-Use Properties that contain at least one residential unit and impervious area associated with non-residential use are charged the greater of the fees calculated from the two methods above.
Credits are available to developed properties which have stormwater facilities and a maintenance agreement with the Town.
How will a stormwater enterprise fund benefit me?
By having a dedicated source of funding for stormwater improvement and maintenance, the Town will be able to undertake projects that will help:
- reduce flooding of roadways and private properties
- improve water quality in our creeks and streams
- improve maintenance and inspection frequency of existing stormdrain systems to help ensure proper working order.
In their December 17 recommendation to Town Council, the Stormwater Stakeholders Committee presented a list of potential stormwater capital projects. Though this list is not comprehensive or prioritized, it illustrates the magnitude of potential projects a stormwater enterprise fund will help address.
When will a stormwater utility fee be implemented?
The stormwater utility fee will be assessed beginning July 1. The stormwater utility fee will appear on your August 1 utility bill.
How will I be billed?
A stormwater utility fee is applied to each utility bill.
If the address is a rental property, and/or is unoccupied, or has no water meter or direct utility bill, the property owner receives the bill for the stormwater utility fee. The property owner is responsible for payment of the stormwater utility fee even if other utility services have been suspended.
What is an impervious surface?
Impervious surfaces are areas that do not absorb precipitation, typically paved driveways, parking lots, roads, and sidewalks. Because these surfaces block the absorption of rainfall, surface runoff is increased and makes it way to streams and creeks.
Human-made surfaces that are not vegetated are considered impervious. Impervious surfaces include roofs, buildings, decks, or pools, as well as any concrete, asphalt, compacted dirt or gravel surface.
Please note that gravel driveways are considered impervious because the gravel becomes compacted over time.
Why is stormwater management important?
By maintaining an effective stormwater management program, the Town will help ensure the overall health of our stormwater infrastructure. These benefits include preserving the health of town creeks and streams, preventing stream pollution, reducing stream bank erosion and lessening the impact of flooding.
Planning a proactive approach to stormwater not only meets state and federal requirements, but ensures that the Town is capable of meeting stormwater needs for years to come. A stormwater enterprise fund is a proactive approach to stormwater management, increasing the overall infrastructure health of the town.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Engineering Department at (540) 382-6120 for more information about stormwater and the stormwater utility fee program.