June 21, 2020. CWC FB post.
On Tuesday at 9:30 am, the City Council is holding a pre-budget workshop on the possibility of initiating a Stormwater Utility to fund water quality projects to reduce pollution to our lagoon. You are encouraged to express your support through emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stormwater infrastructure in Vero Beach is old, some of it 50 years or more. The city’s budget for stormwater has mostly consisted of repair and/or replacement of existing pipes, ditch cleaning, etc. Little has been done to reduce pollution and improve the water quality of stormwater draining from our urban area. This water carries gasoline, oil, brake dust and road debris along with fertilizer, toxic chemicals, leaves, grass and soil to the Indian River Lagoon.
The 2020 Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) requires the City to develop projects that reduce the amount of pollution entering the lagoon. The current budget is inadequate to achieve this goal.
The City could raise its Ad Valorem tax (property tax). A more equitable method to fund water quality projects is to have a stormwater fee, based on the amount of impervious surface of a property. Every property owner that uses the services of the stormwater drainage system would help pay for it, just as we pay for wastewater treatment (sewer) or garbage collection. A consultant hired by the City in 2016 developed a fee schedule that estimated the average city-sized property would pay a stormwater fee of approximately $5 per month, a small price to pay to help restore the IRL. By having a dedicated stormwater fund the City would be eligible to receive matching grants, thereby doubling the money available for water quality improvement.
Please take the time to send an email of support!