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2. Scenarios for property owners' monthly stormwater utility fees

The Draft Plan recommends changes to stormwater utility fees that developed property owners pay. Fees are based on a range of potential capital and program improvement scenarios. Four surface and stormwater utility fee scenarios are included in the plan:

  • one that results in no rate increase which would reduce overall service
  • three scenarios resulting in low, medium, and high rate increases

The rate study in Chapter 10 of the draft plan also includes an equitability analysis that recommends adjustments to existing rates so that fees are more appropriately assessed and equitably distributed across the City’s surface and stormwater utility rate classes based on a cost of service model. In other words, those properties that have a larger impact on the stormwater system will pay a larger fee than properties with a smaller impact. This represents a redistribution of fees to more fairly align across all rate classes.

Owners of all developed properties in the City are obligated to pay a monthly stormwater utility fee which is based on the amount of impervious/hard surface on their property. The Draft Plan recommends changes to these fees based on a range of potential capital and program improvement scenarios. Public Works has developed packages of projects that represent a variety of levels of service and cost to the City and its rate payers.

The Storm and Surface Water Utility provides a dedicated and reliable means of funding the required improvements and maintenance of the stormwater system in Bellingham. This is accomplished through the collection of fees. These fees allow the City to undertake new capital projects and enhance existing programs. These fees also pay for replacement of aging facilities to address flooding and water quality, and efforts to improve fish access and habitat, and protect and restore aquatic resources.

In addition, fees also facilitate compliance with state and federal water resource regulations. Non-capital expenditures—such as planning, regulatory compliance, operations and maintenance, and public education—are important parts of the program.

For more details on monthly stormwater utility fees, see Section 10.9 of the Draft Plan.

What feedback do you have about property owners’ monthly stormwater fee scenarios? Share your comments below.

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