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Fayette now seems likely to adopt stormwater utility

County staff will be heading back to the drawing board, at least somewhat, to recalculate a proposed budget for a more aggressive stormwater improvement program that would be funded by new fees assessed on all properties in the unincorporated county.

That was the result of yet another discussion by the Fayette County Commission last week about a staff proposal to implement a stormwater utility.

While a majority of commissioners has agreed the utility is needed, the matter under discussion is the matter of setting the annual fees.

Stormwater improvements are currently paid for from the county’s general fund portion of the budget. Commissioner Allen McCarty has said he wants the county to avoid creating a stormwater utility because it would create another cost on property owners.

Instead McCarty favors funding stormwater pipe replacements from the county’s 2003 transportation sales tax.

The latest projections call for an estimated $18 million needed to replace and maintain stormwater pipes that most often run underneath county roads. But that figure is a bit of a moving target, as only a portion of the county’s stormwater pipe has actually been inspected.

Commissioner Lee Hearn said he wanted to reduce the fee for churches, a sentiment first suggested by Commissioner Steve Brown. Hearn also said he preferred to get a more concrete total cost estimate as well.

Commissioner Robert Horgan asked if public schools could be excluded from paying stormwater fees.

Brown said he felt the county wouldn’t have to deal with stormwater problems if it had been able to keep up with repairs as it went along.

The county has some $1.1 million budgeted in the general fund this year for stormwater work, according to County Manager Jack Krakeel.

The proposal from staff has a fee of $48.96 a year for each 6,400 square feet of impervious surface on a given parcel. Peachtree City’s annual fee, based on each 4,600 square feet of impervious surface, is $47.40. Fayetteville’s fee is $35.40 for every 3,800 square feet of impervious surface.

Because of their larger footprints which includes parking lots, some churches and many schools are likely to face big bills under the current proposal from county staff.

One small church with less than 4,000 square feet of impervious surface would expect to pay about $25 a year, while a church just under 44,000 square feet would pay about $350 a year. And a church with over 140,000 square feet of impervious surface would pay $1,166 a year.

Some 13 communities with stormwater utilities have fees within $2 of the county’s proposed annual user fee. Some 19 other communities have a fee lower than that range, and another eight communities have a higher fee than proposed by county staff.



BHH's picture

And forget the idea of a "utility" for storm water management.

What happens if I refuse to pay my storm water utility bill?

Do they turn off my storm water service?

A large part of the argument for a utility system is to be able to collect from churches and schools which I am also opposed to.

Yet now they want to exempt them.

It was a bad argument in the first place but a grasp at straws to sell the idea.

I say pay for this crap out of taxes and be done with it.

Another argument is that the cities can say they are being double taxed for these types of repairs.

Damn the cities methods of doing it.

It's their choice if they want to pay for their problems this way and it's not double tax on them to have them pay their share of the counties needs.

They are part of the county too.

Their services are in addition to the county services not instead of county services.

Someone pointed out here recently that a major part of the funds for the utility would go towards personnel and administration costs.

These repairs should be handled by crews and administration already in the system and not by duplicating these things.

This utility would eventually become an albatross to the tax payers and if allowed to be implemented will open the door to a host of other government run utilities for every purpose under the sun in addition to our usual taxes.

It is ludicrous to require a person or entity to pay a utility fee for a service in which they have not control over usage.

That fact by itself makes it a tax and not by definition a utility.

These utilities are already in existence in other areas and have not yet withstood the test of time as to their experimental use.

I am not so much opposed to the cost as an additional tax as I am to the idea of a "utility" of this type.

Just look at your phone or cable bills, the county will be able to add similar charges to this "utility" bill at the drop of a hat without any public approval what so ever.

This "utility" is a bad idea for the citizens.

This storm water "utility" is poised to swell into one of the largest funds and land grabs in government history.

This is being used across the country and it's all for work we are already paying taxes for.

The feds a behind a push for all water and wet space to be own or strictly controlled by government.

Already every new development that has no wet space is required to create one.

The state of Georgia already contends that it owns all water in the state and now the push is to control all the land is rest on or passes over.

Is there anyone that advocates for peoples rights any more in this country?

Does no one else see this?


Happy Cost of Government Day! You Worked for It
From Jan. 1 until today, every penny Americans earned paid for federal, state and local spending and regulations..

"During the presidency of George W. Bush, however, Cost of Government Day moved forward to July 16 in 2008, from June 28 in 2000, costing taxpayers 18 days of extra labor. Since he took office, President Barack Obama has pushed the day all the way forward to Aug. 12. In other words, Americans are now working 27 more days per year to pay for government spending and regulations than on the day Mr. Obama became president."

WSJ, Friday, August 12, 2011 As of 12:00 AM

Cyclist's picture

you had to wreck my night. Now because of you, I got to get a much stiffer drink.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Working to pay taxes only until June or August is a made-up tale by politicians who are out of office.

The average American income is $ 45,000 per year.
If he paid all of what he made from Jan. to August, that would be about $25,000 worth of taxes.

Now those earners above make up about 60% or more of the earners.
They pay no such amount for taxes!

What is left to pay the taxes? The rich and the poor.

The tax percentage to pay listed on the tax tables aren't paid by anyone!
Certainly not corp[orations or rich people. Oprah probably only pays 20% maybe, or less.

The $45,000 majority end up with an actual payment of earnings of about 10-12%, or less.

If you don't pay much in federal taxes then even less in state.

There are other taxes besides income such as water run-off of your property, and of course cop tickets and homeowners property taxes, but it certainly doesn't take until August to pay them for most everyone.

If we had as much oil as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, then we could sell it and use that money for taxes---as they do.
They even hire maids and cooks and workers from the Phillipines for them!

Do you suppose we have enough of maybe Natural Gas to sell to do that also?

I think George Bush was a cheerleader at Yale, wasn't he; and, now Rick Perry was one at Texas A & M and made a lot of Ds just like George?

Be careful.

Please enjoy your adult beverage(s) responsibly.

The stormwater fee is but a "drop in the bucket" to what is really needed to bring our drains and culverts up to good repair. The previous commissioners have let this slide so long, it would take about $18 million to get things right.

Since the 2004 SPLOST was for "roads, streets and bridge purposes," stormwater repair is included. In reviewing the SPLOST Guide for County Commissioners, the following should be noted:

Page 10, Stormwater and Drainage- “In addition, stormwater and drainage capital outlay as either a component of a road, street and bridge project, or as a general capital outlay project."

Page 31, Section 48-8-111(b) (1) provides “If the resolution or ordinance calling for the imposition of the tax specified that the proceeds of the tax are to be used in whole or in part for capital outlay projects consisting of road street and bridge purposes, then authorized uses of the tax proceeds shall include;

Part (E) Improvement of surface-water drainage from roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; and (F) Patching, leveling, milling, widening, shoulder preparation, culvert repair, and other repairs necessary for the preservation of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths."

It’s simple. Since the 2004 SPLOST was dedicated to road, street and bridge purposes and culvert repair is included, then the 2004 SPLOST funds should be used to make the necessary repairs.

The $18 million related to stormwater maintenance is an impending need of the county. We actually have roads so badly in need of repair that Fayette emergency vehicles are not permitted to use them. Certainly using the SPLOST funds to that end is more feasible than the West Bypass. The West Bypass has not been documented by a thorough traffic analysis. We also currently have roads that emergency vehicles are not allowed to travel for safety reasons. It makes more sense to first take care of our primary responsibilities before turning our funding to controversial roads that have no public support.

BHH's picture

The bridge over Flint river at McIntosh Rd has been noted on every list of needs lately used to sell the need for new revenue.

I don't know what they will use to snow people with if it ever gets rebuilt.

It seems to me that it has a double priority since it is a road and a storm water project and should be completed sooner than any new road.

That is if it needs to be done at all.

I wonder how many other things are named as needed repairs that are not really needed.

This storm water "utility" is poised to swell into the largest funds grab in government history.

This is being used across the country and it's all for work we are already paying taxes for.


BHH's picture

And manage our taxes well enough to pay for these needs.

Stop the bloating of government.

Use the resources already in place.

What do the county's grass cutters do in the off season?

We don't need another form of revenue generation.

We just need to do a better job of using the means we have.


BHH's picture

would these storm water "utilities" be subject regulation by the PSC?

It seems to me they would.

Wouldn't that automatically hand control over to the state?

Why would the county want to do that?


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