The City of San Antonio storm water utility is run by the Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI) Department. This unit resolves drainage issues, improves surface water quality, maintains and enhances the storm water infrastructure, and prevents and mitigates issues that may arise. This is especially important because the EPA has cited municipal storm water runoff as a major risk to water quality in the United States.
The utility is funded by a fee that SAWS bills on behalf of the City of San Antonio. City staff is currently examining redesigning our storm water utility fee. Currently, parcels of property are categorized and the owners are charged based on property size. There is a concern that this methodology favors large property owners, which presents regulatory and legal questions about equity.
One of the alternatives is to design a fee based on impervious cover. Since impervious cover is directly correlated to drainage, the fee would charge property owners for an amount that is proportional to the runoff caused by their property.
What do you think? Should we align the storm water utility fee more closely to the drainage caused by a property?
That is the key, Randy. I agree we would do well to design the fee structure so that it incentivizes reduced runoff and lower impact techniques, rather than being purely punitive of certain kinds of developments.
This makes more sense, since reducing impervious cover not only reduces storm water drain, but also helps cleanse the water that does run off. Even creation of pocket parks can help a lot. Granted, there's maintenance costs associated, but the benefits could outweigh the costs when factored accordingly.