By James Sherrard
Williston landowners will be receiving a stormwater fee this February supporting the stormwater program, which was adopted by the town’s Selectboard in April of 2014. The purpose of the stormwater program is to protect, maintain and enhance the environment of the town of Williston through effective stormwater quality and quantity control, managing discharges of pollutants and to maintain and improve the quality of receiving waters into which stormwater outfalls flow. The stormwater fee will enable the town to achieve both water quality goals and compliance with State and Federal permit requirements under the Clean Water Act.
The town determined that the most adequate and equitable funding source for the improved stormwater program would be the establishment of a stormwater fee. Stormwater costs are funded through service charges (fees) rather than tax dollars. The concept of a stormwater fee is based on the reality that each property generates runoff that flows into the stormwater system and places a “demand” on the stormwater system of catch basins, pipes, ditches, channels, ponds and streams. Furthermore, residents benefit from a properly functioning stormwater system through the use of town maintained roadways. As such, the stormwater system must be maintained, repaired and regulated by the town of Williston in order to protect streets and buildings from flooding, reduce non-point source pollution, protect local water resources and comply with state and federal-mandated regulatory requirements.
The stormwater fee, unlike a tax, is placed in a stormwater fund, which is dedicated to maintaining and improving stormwater infrastructure throughout Williston. These funds will be used for a wide variety of projects benefiting all Williston residents including, but not limited to: culvert replacements; ditch improvements; watershed studies; stormwater system inventories; public education and outreach; regulatory compliance; and the ongoing maintenance and improvement of town-owned stormwater systems.
What does this mean for Williston landowners? Stormwater fees are based off of the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), or each 4,000 square feet of impervious surface. Impervious surfaces include rooftops, driveways, roadways, parking lots and other areas unable to infiltrate precipitation from rain events or snowmelt. The majority of single-family residences in the town will be billed for one ERU ($4.25 per month). A number of residential properties, having more impervious surfaces than 90 percent of other residential properties in the town, will be billed for two ERUs ($8.50 per month). Non-single family properties will be billed one ERU for each 4,000 square feet of impervious surface on site.
The fee will be included on your water or sewer bill if you already receive one and if not you will be receiving a new bill from the town for the fee.
For more information, please go to the town’s website, www.town.williston.vt.us, and review the town’s Ordinance Regulating the Use of Public and Private Stormwater Systems and the town’s Stormwater Customer Service Manual.
James Sherrard is Williston’s stormwater coordinator.