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Communities throughout the northern hemisphere have begun to address deficiencies in their utility systems through segregating the services provided for “general public needs” and those necessary for “storm water management system functions.
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All developed property within the City of Arlington will pay the Stormwater Utility Fee. That includes houses, schools, public facilities, churches and businesses.
The only exceptions are streets within the City. These areas are excluded because they are designed to collect and carry stormwater runoff.
The service charge, just like water and sewer fees, is based upon the cost of services provided. Because this is not a tax, it is collected from all customers who receive service.
Churches and schools contribute a significant amount of runoff to the City because of their size and amount of hard surface. They will be treated like all other customers under the rate structure.
All impervious area within a multi-tenant facility such as a shopping center or apartment complex is consolidated into one bill. The bill will be sent to the owner or person responsible for the improvements or management association.
An ESU is determined by the amount of impervious area on the average single family home. The Stormwater Rate Structure Committee and the City Council decided to use 6,000 square feet as the basis for an Equivalent Service Unit.
Impervious area includes pavement and building areas such as driveways, parking areas, rooftops, patios, garages and out-structures. The amount of impervious area on a property directly correlates to its contribution of runoff volume and pollutant loading to the city’s storm water management system.
Impervious surface means those disturbed or hard surfaced areas that either prevent or retard the natural entry of water into the soil. Rooftops, buildings, streets, parking lots, sidewalks, asphalt, concrete, other paving, driveways, gravel, patios, artificial turf and storage areas are all examples of impervious surfaces.
These improvements effect natural infiltration, creates more runoff, increases the rate of runoff and alters runoff patterns of stormwater that drains from an area.
An residential unit means a single unit that provides complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons including permanent provision for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
Residential property is charged a fee of $3.45 per ESU unit. A single family home is charged one unit; a duplex is charged two units. Non-single family residential properties are billed according to how much impervious area or hard surface exists on the property. The square footage of the impervious area is determined and this amount is divided by the ESU to translate the non-single family impervious area into an Equivalent Service Unit (ESU).
All properties generate storm water runoff that must be conveyed, transported, stored, treated and discharged by the city.
Even though the storm water inlet, pipes and ponds may be remote from your property, your parcel still contributed runoff, which ultimately discharges to the City storm water management system and facilities.
As part of the storm water utility fee, the City has established a credit policy that reduces charges to nonresidential properties that have facilities that reduce the amount of runoff or pollutant loads discharged to the city’s storm water management system. Copies are available online at the City’s website or from the Stormwater program Office.
Customers that have qualifying on-site stormwater facilities may be eligible for a credit exemption towards their utility fee. In order to receive consideration for credit or exemption, customers need to complete a credit application form.
Pursuant to state legislation, the city can only charge for services within its corporate boundary unless an inter-local agreement has been adopted.
In addition to meeting the city’s current storm water needs, Arlington’s new storm water revenue will provide the city with the tools necessary to meet the federal and state regulatory requirements.
The Arlington City Council will be holding a public hearing on July 3, 2006 at 7 p.m. regarding the proposed ordinances establishing the rate and setting up the revenue fund. It is expected that if passed billing will see this fee beginning with their September 2006 billing.
The City’s goal is to make the process as fair and equitable as possible and recognizes that mistakes sometimes happen. If you feel your bill is incorrect, you can fill out an adjustment request and the City will review your adjustment application and provide you with a credits for any overcharges your account has incurred.
If your problem cannot be dealt with via the adjustment application, the city will review your case by collecting the following information.
The City will research your account and contact you ASAP to provide you with an update or solution.