Stormwater Utility Fee

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Stormwater Utility Fee

Updating the Stormwater Program
The City of St. Augustine established a stormwater utility in 1993, with the objective of creating a dedicated funding source that would allow development of a long-term plan to reduce flooding and protect the city’s water resources. The revenue from the utility allowed the city to purchase equipment, maintain the system, and implement numerous projects in different parts of the city, including the Palmer culvert, Oviedo outfall, and Maria Sanchez Lake, among numerous roadway and drainage projects. Since 2008 the city has been required to comply with the National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which requires additional activities to control erosion, runoff quality, education and preventive maintenance.

The city has already implemented the great majority of capital improvement projects identified in the original master plan that was developed in 1993. With the new regulations in place, and upcoming criteria for discharge in waters of the state, it is imperative to look back at the stormwater program and update it to reflect the new permit requirements, as well as the renewed plan to implement long-term projects throughout the city. For this reason, the city updated its stormwater program in 2012, addressing both funding and a 10-year capital improvement plan.

Stormwater Master Plan Update
The first phase of the master plan consisted of a review of available data, including frequent flooding problem areas, and coordination with St. Johns County on ongoing stormwater efforts. Using the most recent topographic information and field survey, tributary areas within the city limits were delineated and the detailed evaluation of three pilot projects was conceptually developed.

A key component of the first phase of the master plan was the review of revenue and expenditures of the stormwater program to ensure that the proposed improvements would be backed by a long-term finance scheme that takes into account routine maintenance as well as capital expenditures.

Understanding that the impact of a fee change affects different stakeholders within the community, the city formed an advisory committee representing residential, commercial, industrial, real state and educational institutions.  The committee met monthly to learn about the regulatory constraints, ongoing activities and the proposed capital improvement plan presented by CDM Smith, the stormwater consultant who assisted the city in the development of the master plan.

Stormwater Utility Review
Whenever there is a rainstorm event, parcels within St. Augustine generate runoff that the city infrastructure controls to protect life, preserve property, and maintain the city accessibility to residents and visitors. The city’s infrastructure consists of inlets, pipes, stormwater ponds, valves, and bulkheads. There is a direct relationship between the amount of impervious area and the runoff generated by a site; therefore, this area is a common basis for the establishment of a stormwater utility user fee.

Impervious area is defined as the surface within the parcel that does not allow soil infiltration to occur, and includes roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, and paved areas. The consultant performed a review of the current stormwater utility established in 1993 that set a flat billing unit of 2,000 square feet of impervious area.

The consultant evaluated a residential sample with the use of the latest aerial imagery, assessor’s data and computer geographic systems. The sample showed that in our city there is a disparity between smaller and larger residential homes that provides a basis for a new billing structure. The new billing structure takes advantage of current data to establish a fair and equitable fee structure, where customers have a different billing rate depending on their runoff contribution. Coupled with the financing options proposed to the committee, the consultant identified an $8.3M capital expenditure program for the years 2014 to 2023, including three pilot areas, and a list of 16 neighborhood projects shown here:


Updated Stormwater Billing Structure
As a result of the committee discussions and recommendations, in October 2013 city staff presented to the city commission a plan to update the stormwater fee with increased fairness by refining the relationship between impervious area and utility fee, as shown below:

Small home - impervious area less than 1,444 sq-ft

$ 3.64/month

Average home - impervious area between 1,444 and 4,400 sq-ft

$ 7.00/month

Large home - impervious area greater than 4,400 sq-ft

$ 11.20/month

Multifamily unit - condos, apartments, duplex, etc.

$ 2.66/month

Mobile home

$ 5.95/month

Non-residential customers

$7.00/billing unit/month


The non-residential fee structure is now based on the estimated home size compared to the statistical sampled average of a single family home in St. Augustine. The new residential sample resulted in a single family unit of 2,752 sq-ft, instead of the 2,000 sq-ft used as a statewide average reference in the current utility.

Non-residential customers will pay $7.00/month for each billing unit and will not have a 20,000 square-foot cap as they did before. The funds from the program are already being used to fund the stormwater component of the Old Dixie Highway and the downtown streetscaping.

The city is required by its current permit with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to maintain the stormwater system to national standards, which include the construction and maintenance of its infrastructure. The contribution of each resident towards controlling and treating runoff, assists the city to meet its permit goals, therefore the new billing structure includes a potential credit for customers who have stormwater best management practices on their property.

If a site was constructed following stormwater guidelines permitted by the city, the St. Johns River Water Management District or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the customer can apply for a 30% credit reduction. Typical features permitted by these agencies include detention ponds, dry detention ponds, and underground vaults, among others. The permit is based on the premise that the owner is properly maintaining the facility and that it benefits the overall stormwater management by reducing runoff and providing treatment.

Complete and submit a Credit Reduction Application to see if you qualify.  Responses will be generated within two weeks from the date of inquiry.  Please allow time for this process before calling to follow-up once you have applied.

Fees are based on all impervious areas, so in addition to roofs, consideration is also given to driveways, compacted surfaces such as gravel and coquina, patios, sidewalks and all paved areas when calculating the fee. If you still feel that your fee needs an adjustment, please complete and submit the Adjustment Request Form.  Fees are adjusted in accordance with the Stormwater Management Fee Adjustment Credit and Appeals Policy and Procedure Manual.  The Stormwater Utility Fee Update flyer summarizes the information about the city's Stormwater Utility Update Program.

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