Takoma Park, MarylandsStormwater Utility Fee One small jurisdictions experience with funding stormwater management programs with a utility fee, imposed on all property owners, based on amount of impervious surface.
Takoma Park, MarylandLocated just outside the District of Columbia, Takoma Park isapproximately 2 square miles with a population of 17,000. residential 92% developed commercial 8 8 Public/Institutional 13 roadways 5 park land 6 60 undeveloped
A Brief History of the Stormwater SystemThe stormwater system in Takoma Park wasowned by the regional water and sewer authorityuntil the late 1980s. Once the State ruled theycould no longer operate the system, the City tookit over.The City had the system mapped and inspected todetermine the condition and general location of thestructures. The age of the system ranged fromstructures built in the 1920s made of hand stackedstone and slate tops culverts, to brick and cinder-block structures with pipes ranging from clay,corrugated metal to reinforced concrete.Once the City took over the system, the primary activity was maintenance and cleaning.About 40% to 60% of the budget for those activities came from the general tax fund andthe remainder was appropriated from previous budget year’s surplus. The Councildetermined this was not a sustainable practice, so began exploring the options andestablished the Stormwater Utility Fee in 1996.
Why A Utility Fee?A dependable source of funding, less impacted by economic changes reflected in tax rates,A fair and equitable way of generating revenue,Enables all property owners to contribute - including tax exempt
Stormwater Utility Fee Rate StructureSingle family properties are all billed the same amount. Theamount is based on the median impervious area of 1.228 sqft, also called the ERU - equivalent residential unit.Other developed properties are billed based on the actual squarefootage of impervious area on the property, divided by the ERUand multiplied by the base rate.The original base rate was $24, the current rate is $48. We arerecommending an increase to $55 in the next budget.The original assessment of property types was determined usingState Tax database records. The amount of impervious area wascalculated using digital maps with planimetric informationgathered from aerial photographs showing building andpavement edges.
Property Types In Takoma Park 86% - Single Family Residential 14% - Other Developed Multi-family - 5% Commercial - 4% Tax Exempt Properties - 5%Percentage Of Impervious Area By Type 37% - Single Family (1,228 sq ft) 60% - Other Developed Property
Land Use MapThe map to the right shows aportion of the City and therelative land cover includingpervious and impervioussurfaces, structures and roads.The single family residentialareas tend to have greater treecover, while theschools, commercial andinstitutional areas have less.In general the amount ofimpervious area in the residentialportion of the City is less than theother developed areas.
Stormwater Management ExpensesFY 1990 FY 2012 $200,000 annual budget $454,500 annual budget $10,000 engineering design $20,000 engineering design $60,000 capital costs $167,000 capital costs $130,000 for maintenance & $187,500 maintenance & services * services $80,000 personnel *** Maintenance and services now includes video inspection of the system, pipe cleaning, repair of existing structures and dry weather outfall testing.** Personnel includes 1/2 time of an engineer and 1/4 time of an Administrative position to process permits.
Who Pays What ? There are 3,885 property owners billed each year. 3,443 are single family properties and 443 are other developed properties.In FY 12, the Utility Fee generated $361,000.Single Family Properties represent 89% of the properties billed, andpay $165,000 - or 46% of the total. When the fee was implemented, 80%of the single family property owners paid less with the Utility Fee thenthey did under the ad valorem tax.Other Developed Properties represent 11% of the properties billed, andpay $196,000 - or 54% of the total.The City mails a Stormwater Utility Bill annually to each property owner.
Some Examples of PaymentsAll single family properties pay the same amount - $48The largest payer, the Washington AdventistUniversity, pays $12,500.The second largest payer, the Washington AdventistHospital, pays $10,500.There are 15 commercial properties paying between$2,000 and 6,000.
Key Components: Promote accomplishments - need to regularly remind property owners what is being done with the payments. Delinquency - must pursue non-payment Future Challenges: No Fee Reduction Policy - currently no process for reducing the rate for a property that has installed stormwater controls onsite. No Incentive Program - there is no program to encourage property owners to manage their stormwater onsite, various options include rebates for certain installations (rain gardens, down spout disconnects, tree planting, etc) Update Impervious Analysis - with improved GIS and other technology, the review of property features should be updated.
For additional information or questions, please contact: Daryl Braithwaite Public Works Director City of Takoma Park 301-891-7615 firstname.lastname@example.org www.takomaparkmd.gov