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Developing Sustainable Stormwater Programs Using Sustainable Financing Options

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Objective: Although not a new concept the development of dedicated stormwater fees is gaining in popularity with municipalities as the most viable option to fund the increased stormwater demands that are facing them. At the same time if one were to ask a property owner if they wanted to start paying more for stormwater management the answer would most likely be “no”. Despite what seems like a disparity more and more municipalities are successfully developing stormwater programs that meet the needs of their citizens and the regulations and that are funded in a way that is sustainable ensuring that the programs are implemented. This presentation outlines the process of how to develop an appropriate stormwater program and gain support for sustainable financing.

Method: To date there are over 1200 municipalities with stormwater fees, often called stormwater utilities, around the country. However, these fees are relatively new to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. This is rapidly changing and in the past few years there has been an increase of examples in VA, MD, PA, DE and VT and there are municipalities throughout New England that are now is various stages of exploring their options or implementation. Using these examples to pull from what works and just as importantly what did not the author discusses how communities can develop an appropriate stormwater program to meet a diverse set of community needs and identify the funding options that are right for them, including the development of dedicated stormwater fees, that will be accepted by the landowners and stakeholders and meet the community's needs.

Conclusions: In developing sustainable stormwater programs and sustainable stormwater fees it is not as much the technical mechanics of calculating costs and fees; but rather the process of how the stormwater program's elements and services are identified and support garnered. This presentation focuses on how developing the right stormwater program and developing the sustainable financing needed to fund it is more about politics, policy, and perception than it is engineering.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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