Fayetteville to consider new stormwater utility fee

The parking lot of the Formosa Chinese Restaurant on North College Avenue in Fayetteville is shown in April 2017 in the aftermath of heavy rains that caused major flooding across the region. (Flyer photo/Clayton Taylor)

UPDATE: This proposal was approved 8-0 at the May 21 City Council meeting.

FAYETTEVILLE — City staff are proposing the creation of a dedicated funding mechanism for stormwater management through a new utility fee.

City Council members on Tuesday will consider a resolution of intent to enact a stormwater utility ordinance that would include a new fee added to property owners’ water bills to help cover the cost of the city’s increasing flooding issues.

The new fee would be based on the amount of impervious area on a property, such as rooftops, driveways and parking lots. The fees would be tiered, with larger properties paying more due to their higher contribution to runoff.

For example, properties with less than 2,000 square feet of impervious area will be charged $1.69 per month, those with 2,001 to 3,500 square feet will incur a fee of $3.71, and properties with 3,501 to 5,000 square feet will be billed $5.73. For properties with 5,001 to 6,500 square feet, the fee is set at $7.76, while those with 6,501 to 8,000 square feet will be charged $9.79. Properties exceeding 8,000 square feet will have their fees calculated based on the actual impervious area divided by 1,000 and then multiplied by the monthly rate of $1.35 per billing unit.

TierImpervious square footageMonthly fee
1Under 2,000$1.69
6Over 8,000*See below

* Fees for properties with more than 8,000 square feet of impervious surface area would be calculated by taking the total square footage and dividing it by 1,000 and then multiplying it by $1.35.

Just like water rates, the fees would increase by 3% each year.

The idea of a stormwater utility has been in the works for nearly seven years, when discussions began in 2017 after a major flooding event.

The council later that year approved a resolution of intent to fund a study to evaluate the feasibility of creating a program to address the increase in flooding issues, especially in Fayetteville’s older and more hilly areas.

The following year, the council agreed to spend $229,222 on a feasibility study to establish a fee, and in 2022 directed city staff to continue to analyze the idea.

All residential and commercial property owners would be subject to the fee, but it would not apply to federal, state and county facilities because the city has no authority over those types of institutions.

If approved on Tuesday, the plan could move forward, but would return to the council before the fee is actually implemented.