Alexandria will consider hiking its stormwater utility fee 5 percent for future bills, a move that’s expected to generate an additional $1 million in revenue in the next budget year.
The city council holds a public hearing on the issue at its meeting on Saturday. Final approval would come when the city approves its budget on May 3.
The yearly fee would increase from $280 to $294 for bills due June 15, and from $294 to $308.70 for bills due November 15 and thereafter.
“The stormwater utility fee is proposed to increase to address stormwater management and Chesapeake Bay clean-up mandates. This fee is paid by all property owners, including non-taxable properties. The new annual fee will be $86.44 for condos, $129.65 for townhomes, $308.70 for small single-family homes and $515.53 for large single-family homes,” Alexandria Mayor Justin M. Wilson wrote in his April 1 newsletter.
A memo from Alexandria City Manager James F. Parajon to the city council said the money is needed because the city has had problems with flash flooding. The money would be used “to fund accelerated operating and capital projects to address flooding issues under the Flood Action Alexandria program initiated in FY 2022.”
Overall, funds raised from the stormwater utility fee, according to the city, go toward “street sweeping; leaf pickup; operation and maintenance of public stormwater infrastructure and separate storm sewer system; stormwater quality initiatives; compliance with our MS4 stormwater permit; plan review; and our flood management program.”
The fee, which Alexandria implemented in 2018, saw a substantial increase in recent years. It had been $140 but then saw a jump to $210 in June 2021 and then to $280 in November 2021.
The move to increase the stormwater utility fee also comes as the city decides to send back to the state $3 million in grant funding for stream restoration projects that fell through. The city had received $2.2 million to restore Taylor Run and $800,000 to restore Strawberry Run, according to ALX Now.
The projects faced opposition from several groups, and the city voted to send the projects back for more study. The improvements were to be part of the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The decision to return the money caught the mayor off guard. “This is a significant decision that we kind of made by happenstance, if you will,” Wilson said.
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