The decision of the City and County to contract with WSA was made, in part, in the face of increasing federal and state regulations and requirements with respect to stormwater management. With these regulations and requirements came an enormous financial burden. Because WSA is not part of the City or the County, we receive no tax dollars to help fund the required work to satisfy the regulations and requirements of this new service WSA now provides.
WSA elected to conduct its stormwater program as a stormwater utility, with its fees structured as user charges for services rendered. With the exception of contractual payments and bond revenues, WSA’s sole source of income comes from fees we charge for providing services – including water, wastewater, and stormwater services.
Stormwater utilities and fees for service have not been around very long, but they are an ever-growing trend as local governments work toward meeting the ever-increasing regulations designed to improve the quality of life for all of us. WSA believes stormwater user fees are the only fair way to fund the federal mandates of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II requirements and the state requirements of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act – which are all designed to protect our precious water resources.
Basis for Fees:
Impervious surface is used as a basis for the fee because the amount of impervious surface on a property generally correlates to the amount of stormwater runoff generated by a property, and, therefore, the burden that the given property adds to the system, which is tied to the benefit the property receives from having the stormwater it contributes to the overall system managed by WSA.
The amount of the fee is based on $4.00 for each equivalent residential unit (ERU), which is based on 2,543 square feet of impervious surface, representing the median residential use in Douglas County. All charges for non-residential properties are based on the actual area of impervious surface divided by 2,543 to determine the number of ERU’s, which is then multiplied by the $4.00 base rate. This fee structure was established based on the Authority’s estimated annual costs for providing stormwater management services at an acceptable level, and the fees collected are designated and used solely for that purpose.
WSA determined the amount of impervious surface area on each property in Douglas County through the use of detailed aerial photography and the digitization of the data derived therefrom.