Stormwater User Fee
The City of Fort Myers adopted a stormwater Utility on March 16, 2009 to improve the level of stormwater services for activities such as improving drainage, fulfilling regulatory requirements, and reducing pollution carried by stormwater to our waterways.
Stormwater User Fee Benefits
Unlike water and sewer services, there was no dedicated funding for the stormwater system and the City used general funds from taxes to maintain the system. With the City facing increasing costs, a stormwater funding program needed to be established. A stormwater user fee provides revenue to maintain and improve existing stormwater infrastructure in the City as well as to implement the comprehensive stormwater quality management plan required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
A user fee is a mechanism for the City to recover costs for services it must provide to meet public demands and stormwater regulations. The stormwater user fee is structured to recover costs fairly and equitably.
The City recognized the need to increase the scope of storm water services provided by the City for 3 primary reasons:
- It is the City’s responsibility to maintain the existing public infrastructure, much of which is underground. But just because it is underground does not mean it should be out of sight, out of mind. For example, failing drain pipes can cause streets to cave in. In the past, the City has performed spot repairs and filled in sinkholes with dirt and rock, i.e., treating the symptom instead of the cause. This historical level of response was analogous to just fixing potholes in residential streets but never repaving. We needed a more proactive maintenance effort for our storm drain system.
- The City needed to protect our environment and there are new regulatory requirements for environmental protection. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has placed conditions on our waste water permits that require us to bring the City’s streams and the Caloosahatchee River into compliance with new water quality standards.
- The City needed to improve customer services and responses. Currently, people with drainage issues are on a waiting list. A stormwater service fee based on total impervious area per parcel was determined to be the most fair and equitable method of distributing the costs of maintaining and operating the stormwater system.
Calculating Stormwater User Fees
- Impervious Area: The impervious area is measured from aerial photography, as-built site plans, field surveys, and Lee County Property Appraiser Data.
- Rounding Total Impervious Area: The total impervious area for the property is rounded down to the nearest 500 square feet.
- Standard Impervious Unit: The impervious area that was rounded in step 2 is divided by 500 square feet. This is the number of standard impervious units for the property.
- Fee Determination: The standard impervious units for the property are multiplied by a billing rate of $0.96. This is the monthly stormwater user fee.
Stormwater user fees will be used to:
- Meet the requirements of the City’s stormwater permit
- Improve maintenance and repair of the City’s stormwater system
- Develop storm water design standards and regulations and ensure they are met
- Construct long overdue flood protection and water quality management projects
- Replace stormwater infrastructure including culverts, curb inlets, head walls, and conveyance systems
- Construct stormwater facilities that will address flooding and water quality issues in the area