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Richmond Hill approves stormwater-utility law
Billing for residents will begin in April
Richmond Hill city logo

The Richmond Hill City Council on Tuesday set the user-fee rate for the city’s stormwater-management fund.

The rate was set at $4.75 per equivalent residential unit, which is 3,300 square feet of impervious surface, Director of Planning and Zoning Scott Allison said Wednesday in an interview.

Allison said at Tuesday’s council meeting that billing will begin April 1. The resolution states that the charge will be an addition to utility bills.

According to a news release, the funds collected will be used toward “enhanced and proactive drainage-system maintenance, improved response to customer complaints and service requests, reduced flooding and improved drainage, and reallocation of city funds to other priority needs, such as public safety.”

“Up until now, drainage-system construction and repair activities have been funded by the city’s general fund, which consists primarily of taxes. This process is unreliable and unstable due to the nature of competing priorities within the city’s annual budgeting process for lower tax revenues,” Mayor Harold Fowler said in the release. “One way to effectively fund the stormwater-management program would be to implement a stormwater utility for properties within the city limits. We believe this is a more equitable method for funding stormwater services, since all properties will pay their fair share for stormwater services received.”

The city was charged in March 2014 with doing activities in order to “address water-quality protection and stormwater-pollution prevention,” the release says.

“New stormwater regulations from state and federal governments, combined with aging infrastructure and lack of resources to implement priority capital drainage projects, have driven the city’s need to implement a more-comprehensive stormwater management program,” City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Russ Carpenter said in the news release. “Unfortunately, there has not been any corresponding funding from these agencies to assist the city with meeting its requirements. As such, these regulations are essentially an unfunded regulatory mandate that the City must address.”

Allison said Wednesday that the city will work on educating the public about the fund. Users also an apply for credit toward reducing the fee on their bills by doing certain projects, such as putting in a retention pond or doing an annual street-cleanup program.
More information on the stormwater user fund can be found at

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• The council approved an amendment to the revenue ordinance to include $250 license fee for stamps for Sunday alcohol sales.
• It was announced that Coastal Electric Cooperative had withdrawn its variance request to the sign ordinance. Council had tabled a decision on the request at its Nov. 17 meeting. It was incorrectly reported in the News that the request was approved. Allison said Wednesday that he was informed of the withdrawal Tuesday, but didn’t know what the intentions were behind it.

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