Bellaire city officials are considering implementing a stormwater drainage utility system that would include establishing a new monthly fee for residential and commercial owners.

The overview

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a stormwater utility provides a method of generating revenue through user fees to provide stormwater management activities such, as planning, engineering, permitting and maintenance.

City Manager Sharon Citino shared a presentation July 1 detailing the benefits of the city establishing a stormwater utility.

  • It prioritizes and dedicates a steady source of revenue for drainage system costs that are not associated with property tax revenue.
  • It allows the city to add, maintain and rehabilitate drainage infrastructure without further burdening the general fund.
  • It funds compliance efforts of unfunded regulatory mandates for stormwater quality.

The stormwater utility would be funded through proposed flat rate fees.

The cost

The proposed fee for residential owners is $6. The fee for nonresidential owners would be based on the square footage of impervious surface area.

An impervious surface area is a hard surface area that doesn’t allow water to seep into the ground, according to the United States Geological Survey. City officials presented a proposed fee scale for nonresidential owners at the June 1 meeting:

  • Up to 10,000 square feet of impervious surface area: $6
  • 10,001-50,000 square feet: $7.20
  • 50,001-100,000 square feet: $18
  • 100,001-250,000 square feet: $42
  • 250,001-500,000 square feet: $84
  • 500,001 square feet and above: $180

According to the council presentation, the fees will cover operations and maintenance expenditures such as personnel, equipment and infrastructure replacement, capital outlays, and drainage projects.

Next steps

City Council members voted unanimously July 1 to call a public hearing on establishing the stormwater utility.

The public hearing will be held Aug. 5. A public hearing on the utility fee will follow Sept. 9. If approved, the stormwater utility fee will be implemented starting Oct. 1.