Plan for stormwater fee gets initial approval, still needs final decision

Vehicles drive along North College Avenue in Fayetteville after a flood in May 2017. (Flyer photo/Clayton Taylor)

FAYETTEVILLE — A plan to create of a dedicated funding mechanism for managing the city’s stormwater issues has received initial approval.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 8-0 to approve a resolution of intent to enact a stormwater utility ordinance, which includes a proposed new fee that would be added to property owners’ water bills.

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.

The proposed tiers are included in the chart below:

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.

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.

City staff plan to formalize the fee proposal before bringing it back to the City Council for final approval later this year or early in 2025.

A 7-year plan

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 resulted in some devastating damage across the region. At least five people died after the rising water invaded homes, washed out roads, and damaged property.

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.