Commission hears new stormwater ordinance

400-STORMWATER-PROJECTS-PLAHistoric City News readers will note that at the last meeting of the St Augustine City Commission, on October 14, a presentation was given to the commissioners that summarized the accomplishments and needs of the Stormwater Utility. At Monday’s night’s meeting, a first reading of a new ordinance will be heard.

Over the past year, city staff has been working with a private consultant, CDM-Smith, to update the city’s “Stormwater Master Plan” with a goal to identify priorities and make recommendations regarding the stormwater utility.

“From March of this year through August, a Stormwater Advisory Committee consisting of residents, business, governmental and institutional leaders met to review stormwater management policies, infrastructure priorities and the utility rate structure,” Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson told local reporters.

Three major future projects were identified in the master plan including South Dixie Highway, Sydney Street Outfall, and Downtown drainage improvements. To accomplish these major upcoming projects, adjustments to revenue are necessary to cover project costs.

At the October 28 meeting, the Commission will hear first reading of the new ordinance which will restructure utility rates in the following ways:

a) Provide a base single family unit (SFU) of 2,752 square feet,
b) Change the rate to $7.00 per month per single family unit (SFU) for both residential and non-residential properties,
c) Provide a tiered rate structure (small, average, large, or multi-family) for residential properties depending upon their size,
d) Eliminate the cap on non-residential properties, and
e) Allow a 30% discount for those properties that have a permitted on-site stormwater management system.

Since the stormwater utility fee is a user-fee, properties pay for the service that they use based on the amount of runoff caused by impervious area on the property. The more concrete and pavement, the more load on the stormwater system.

Ordinance expected timeline:

• Information Update – Oct 14 2013
• First Reading – Oct 28 2013
• Second Reading, Public Hearing – Nov 20 2013
• Outreach to customers
• Billing preparation

Throughout the process, city staff provided the Commission periodic updates as the work progressed and on the groups work result, an ordinance that represents the culmination of this process and the recommendations of the staff, consultants, and the advisory committee.

The new ordinance will not take effect until March 1, 2014 so as to allow time for public outreach, education, and to prepare the billing database and implement the software changes.

If you plan to attend, the City Commission Meeting will be held Monday, October 28, beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room of the City Hall Building located at 75 King Street in St Augustine. You can watch the meeting live on Comcast Government Television channel 3.

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