Prince George considers $50 annual fee for stormwater
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 18, 2013, 15:00
PRINCE GEORGE — In the wake of a rain heavy summer characterized by flooded streets and muddy ditches, a proposal to implement a new storm water ordinance and utility fee in Prince George County will be open for public comment at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday night.
Current state and federal mandates force Virginia municipalities to meet a set of standards by taking measures in response to the impacts created by stormwater pollution.
For Prince George to be able to pay these additional regulatory costs related to stormwater management, the county has proposed a total annual fee of $50 for “every developed parcel” of land in the county.
The fee would be divided into two $25 payments, coinciding with the due payments for real estate taxes on June 5 and Dec. 5, and is expected to earn the county $504,250 in annual revenue.
According to the drafted ordinance, the revenues collected from the fee will be used for “administrative costs related to stormwater regulation, correction of pre-existing conditions that contribute to pollution in watercourses [and] maintenance of stormwater management facilities or such other purposes as are allowed by the Code of Virginia.”
At a Board of Supervisors meeting in August, County Attorney Steven Micas said that a blanket fee for all properties was a more simplistic method as opposed to basing a property’s utility fee on the property size and the variability of factors that increase runoff, a method that many other localities have adopted.
Petersburg enacted a policy in April that requires standard residential properties to pay a monthly fee of $3.75, totaling $45 per year, a sum that is either paid by the owner or the tenant depending on who receives the bill and benefits of the service. Non-residential properties pay a rate determined by the number of equivalent residential units within the property multiplied by the base monthly fee (Apartment units of five or more are charged as non-residential).
Colonial Heights charges a monthly fee of $2 for one equivalent residential unit, for a yearly total of $24, and the average yearly cost for a non-residential property is $787 per year, relative to the property’s number of ERUs and impervious area (imperviousness being characterized by things like pavement, rooftops and sidewalks that increase runoff).
The proposed Prince George ordinance also allows for those property owners who take permanent measures to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants (through something such as a rain garden) to apply to waive the fee.
If approved, the ordinance will be effective on Jan. 1, 2014.