Stormwater Management Program and Utility Fee
We want citizens to engage in the process. For a list of times and places for public outreach meetings click on the flyer below.
Public Outreach Meetings Flyer
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is runoff from a rainstorm or melting snow. County landscapes - unlike forests, wetlands, and grasslands that trap water and allow it to filter slowly into the ground - contain great areas of impermeable asphalt and concrete surfaces that prevent water from seeping into the ground. Stormwater also picks up many pollutants as it travels across the hard surfaces. These pollutants include: motor oil, pesticides, fertilizers, trash, and sediment that can harm the water quality of our local creeks, rivers, and lakes. As stormwater runoff travels over urban landscapes, the flow increases and water quality decreases.
What is Stormwater Management Program?
A planned and managed process to bring complex institutional, technical, financial, political, and societal issues together to implement solutions, goals, and objectives for stormwater management. Douglas County, like other communities, needs to manage stormwater to:
1) Reduce flood risks that may impact public safety and loss or damage of property; and
2) Prevent polluted stormwater from flowing directly into rivers, lakes, and streams.
What is a Stormwater Utility Fee?
Like gas, electricity, water, and sewage, stormwater runoff can be managed as a utility and billed as a fee. The fee is based on the concept that every developed property in a watershed contributes stormwater runoff and should support the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of stormwater drainage systems in the County. The amount of support is based on the amount of stormwater runoff the property contributes to the County stormwater drainage system. The amount of stormwater runoff a property contributes is directly proportional to the amount of impervious area or hard surface that is on the property.
An impervious surface is any hard surface that does not allow rain to absorb into the ground. Impervious surfaces increase stormwater runoff. Examples of impervious surfaces are roofs, parking lots, streets, sidewalks, and driveways
What services would the utility fee pay for?
The following services are examples of what could be provided by the program:
1) Costs associated with performing engineering analysis of the County’s watersheds
2) Storm drain cleaning services, which involve operation and maintenance of existing public drainage infrastructure –ditches, culverts, retention ponds;
3) Capital drainage improvement program, which involves design and construction of new infrastructure; and
4) Stormwater Quality Program, which maintains compliance with Federal and State Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements.
5) Annual billing and customer service.
How much might my stormwater utility fee be?
Stormwater utility fees are based on the amount of impervious area on your property, which includes surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, patios, sidewalks or any other hard surfaces that do not allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground. For Single Family Residential Customers fees in the range of $4.00 to $6.00 per month are typical.
Why do we need to implement a Stormwater Utility Fee now?
The recommendations for a fee based stormwater management program were submitted by the Citizens Flood Task Force to the County in April. Their recommendation was brought forward by the Douglas County Manager, to the Board of Commissioners on August 18, 2016. The Commission approved the contracting of a consultant to develop a stormwater management plan as well as identify a funding source.
Why is the stormwater utility charge a fee and not a tax?
Generally speaking, the purpose of taxes is simply to raise revenue and there is no association or relationship between the source of revenue and the purpose to which it is applied. User fees on the other hand, are a fee for services provided, and have been commonly used to fund all or part of public works programs such as water, sewer, solid waste and stormwater.
Do other Counties or Cities have a Stormwater Fee?
Yes, currently in Nevada there are two – Carson City and Sparks. Nationwide, there are approximately 2,500.
The stormwater fee should generate the revenue needed to meet the Federally mandated programs; to increase the ability of the County to maintain and repair the stormwater drainage systems; to provide funding for FEMA reviews and drainage basin engineering analysis; and to provide for small capital programs.
How would I be billed for the Stormwater Utility Fee?
The current thought is to bill customers annually through their property tax bill. This method would be less costly than monthly billings.
Frequently Asked Questions Flyer 1
Frequently Asked Questions Flyer 2