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Decatur City Commission will consider new storm water fees to pay for upgrades

Decatur

Decatur City Commission will consider new storm water fees to pay for upgrades

Photo obtained via the city of Decatur
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Decatur, GA — On March 1, the Decatur City Commission will consider adopting new storm water fees to raise the $38 million needed to pay for an improvements to the city’s storm water management system.

Commissioners approved the update back in December. The Storm Water Master Plan is “focused on improving how the City manages its stormwater to address and prevent flooding and improve water quality in the city’s streams,” according to the Master Plan document. “This plan evaluates stormwater concerns across the City and prioritizes solutions to address these concerns. The major goals of this plan are to improve stormwater management in Decatur’s neighborhoods, public spaces, and rights-of-way, to mitigate environmental impacts from urban runoff, and to improve the water quality in the City’s watersheds.”

The 2020 update to the Storm Water Master Plan, which was last updated in 2004, will improve stormwater management in residential areas of Decatur. It will also implement “new drainage requirements for all developments, and policies for use of green infrastructure to control the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff.”

The update was created over two years by reviewing existing data, conducting field surveys, and receiving community input.

An estimated $38 million needed to fund this work will be generated by tax changes using a tiered stormwater utility fee system.

This week, the city sent a press release to the public notifying them of the proposed annual fees that will be considered at the March 1 meeting.

Here is the full announcement from the city of Decatur:

In December 2020, after two years of community engagement, the City Commission adopted a new Storm Water Master Plan Storm (SWMP). The plan is directed toward mitigating flooding, solving existing drainage problems, improving water quality and the quality of life in Decatur. According to the SWMP, $38 million is needed to implement high priority capital projects by 2040.

The City has made major storm water infrastructure improvements in downtown Decatur over the past two decades. Infrastructure in most residential neighborhoods is generally more limited, older and not designed to modern standards. Ponding and flooding are observed in many of Decatur’s neighborhoods during significant storm events.

The City Commission will consider the proposed storm water fee schedule at its regular meeting on Monday, March 1, 2021.

HOW WILL WE PAY FOR THIS?

Funding for storm water improvements can be raised equitably with an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) fee system for commercial and non-single family properties and a 4-tier fee system for residential properties, based on a property’s impervious area, as follows:

The proposed fee schedule is the SWMP‘s recommendation to generate funding needed to complete  proposed high priority projects over the next 20 years.

The present fee of $100 per ERU was adopted in 2016 and will not provide the revenues to meet the infrastructure needs of Decatur’s aging storm water system.

WHAT’S MY NEW STORM WATER FEE? 

Property owners can use this search tool determine their proposed storm water fee.  Credits are available for a portion of the fees by reducing run-off and saving tree canopy.

WHEN WILL I PAY THE NEW STORM WATER FEE?

The City Commission will consider the proposed storm water fee schedule at its regular meeting on Monday, March 1, 2021.  If approved, the new fee will be due on June 1, 2021.

For more information, take a look at the SWMP or email david.junger@decaturga.com.

Writer Alex Brown contributed to this story. 

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