Get The Facts: Lexington County Stormwater Utility Fee
The Chamber’s Public Policy / Advocacy Committee meets monthly to monitor and discuss public policy issues that may positively or negatively impact your business’ bottom line. For the past two months we have discussed this topic and feel the need to brief our Chamber shareholders.
The County of Lexington is proposing a funding solution to its County Council members to mitigate stormwater issues throughout the County via a new Stormwater Utility Fee. Several options were considered, but a stormwater user fee was found to be the best choice.Although the Chamber commends the County for attempting to solve a significant issue over the next 5 to 15 years, we are concerned about the implications of the fee on businesses and others in the community.
The County’s goal is to solve its stormwater problems and bring its stormwater infrastructure to an acceptable condition over time and with the proper monetary investments.
A stormwater user fee charges a property based on an estimate of the additional stormwater runoff it sends offsite from its property due to development. This estimate is tied to the amount of impervious area (rooftops, driveway, parking lots, etc.) on the parcel.Nearly every stormwater utility charges on this imperious area basis.
The stormwater fee is going to be charged to single-family residential (SFR) properties in three tiers and non-single family residential (NSFR) properties on the basis of the “typical” residential property.
The typical residential property in Lexington County has about 2,800 square feet of impervious area (SFIA). This is termed the “equivalent residential unit” or ERU. Each NSFR property will be charged a fee based on its total impervious area (IA) divided by 2,800 square feet.
Single family residential (SFR) properties will be charged on the basis of which of three tiers they fall into. The charges will be: less than 2,000 SFIA -> 0.5 ERU; 2,000 to 6,000 SFIR -> 1.0 ERU, and greater than 6,000 SFIA -> 2.0 ERUs.
Credits will be offered for those NSFR properties that have well-maintained detention ponds and water quality structures, as well as offered to educational institutions, organizations and businesses for providing qualifying stormwater education.
It is estimated that the monthly stormwater utility fee will be billed annually on the tax bill beginning in October 2021 for the 2021 year and will be in the range of $4 - $8 per month per ERU.
A presentation will be made to the Council at today’s Council meeting and is on a “fast-track” schedule for approval by the County Council by year-end.
According to County officials, the new fee is needed to mitigate $114 million of system-wide stormwater repairs and $76 million to address community flooding projects.Currently the county spends around $3 million a year, which will not begin to solve the current stormwater issues.The proposed fee will impact not only businesses, but residential properties and other non-profit organizations, including church properties.
County’s Timeline for Approval:
Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions is the consultant who will be providing a presentation to the County Council TODAY at 4:30 p.m.If you are unable to physically attend the meeting, you can watch the presentation as it is streamed live on the County’s website and on Spectrum Channel 1302.
The County Council will host the 2nd reading of the proposal and offer a Public Hearing on the topic at 6:00 p.m.
The County Council will host the 3rd reading of the proposal and possibly vote on the issue at this meeting or at a meeting in the future.
Once the proposal is voted on by Council, the new fee will be placed on your October 2021 tax bill, and projects will be prioritized with work to begin in 2022.
For More Information:
Robbie Derrick, AICP
Director, Community Development
Sheri M. Armstrong
Land Development Manager