Stormwater User Fee & Adjustments
Stormwater User Fee
The City of Fort Myers adopted a Stormwater Utility on March 16, 2009 to improve the level of stormwater service 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, until 2009 there was no dedicated funding for the stormwater system therefore 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.
It is the City’s responsibility to maintain the existing public infrastructure much of which is underground. Though underground, it is not 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. A more proactive maintenance effort for the storm drain system is necessary.
The City is obligated to protect the environment and meet new regulatory requirements for environmental protection. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has placed conditions on waste water permits requiring the City to bring the it’s streams and the Caloosahatchee River into compliance with new water quality standards.
Calculating the Stormwater User Fees
A stormwater user 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.
- 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 (SIU): The impervious area that was rounded is divided by 500 square feet. This is the number of standard impervious units for the property.
- Fee Determination: The SIU for the property is multiplied by a billing rate of $1.92 to calculate the monthly stormwater user fee. The monthly fee is then multiplied by 12 to determine the annual stormwater user fee billed as a non-ad valorem assessment on the tax bill.
Assessment Funds Usage
The non-ad valorem assessment for Stormwater is used to:
- Meet the requirements of the City’s stormwater permit
Improve maintenance and repair of the City’s stormwater system
- Develop stormwater 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
Stormwater User Fee Credit Adjustments & Reductions
Stormwater User Fee Adjustment Application
An adjustment to the impervious area on a property may be requested by submitting the Stormwater User Fee Adjustment Application for review by the Stormwater Division. This is the application shall be submitted when impervious area on the property is increased or decreased.
The completed Stormwater User Fee Adjustment Application indicating all hard surfaces on the property and signed by the property owner shall be submitted with the following documentation:
- Site Plan of proposed improvements with square footage and description of all surfaces on the parcel
- A copy of the signed/sealed survey is required for all properties except single family homes and parcels that are less than one acre in size
- $25 administrative fee for application processing and review
Stormwater User Fee Reductions Application
A reduction in the stormwater user fee may apply if the parcel contains best management practices (BMPs) as follows:
- Stormwater Retention/Detention Structures – These structures are permitted by the South Florida Water Management District for a minimum of a 25 year, 24-hour event storm and are properly maintained. Note, this reduction is not available to properties located within the Six Mile Cypress Watershed since they already receive a special credit. Refer to the Policy for Adjustments of Stormwater Fees for additional information.
- Low Impact Development – Must be utilized throughout the entire site (man-made wetlands, lowered landscape islands that are irrigated by stormwater, etc.)
- Stormwater Recycling – Using rain barrels, rain gardens, cisterns, or other water saving materials
The completed Stormwater User Fee Reduction Application indicating the best management practices and signed by the property owner shall be submitted with the following documentation:
- Minimum of four color photos (4” x 6”) showing all BMPs that exist and are properly maintained on the parcel
- 11” x 17” site map showing the location of each of the BMPs in the photos above
- Recertification of South Florida Water Management District Permitted System (if applicable)
- $25 administrative fee for application processing and review
Please note that best management practice for which the reduction is approved must be owned and maintained by the property owner. If the property is located within a gated subdivision serviced by a stormwater pond, the owner of the pond must apply for the reduction. If approved all properties served by the pond will be granted the reduction.
The Stormwater User Fee Reduction Application shall be processed within 30-60 days of receipt by the City. A letter will be sent indicating whether the application was approved or denied. If the reduction is approved the adjustment to the stormwater user fee shall be reflected on the non-ad valorem assessment on the following year’s tax bill.