Stormwater fee scaled back but still on
County officials have significantly scaled back a proposal to increase the scope of Fayette County’s stormwater management program through a new fee assessed to property owners in the unincorporated area.
The latest proposal, which would cost $25.20 a year for the average 6,400 square feet of impervious surface of the typical residential lot, will be considered Thursday night
by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. The previous recommendation called for a fee rate that would have the same 6,400 square-foot homesite facing a $48.96 annual fee.
Furthermore, staff’s proposal includes no new employees as was proposed by a previous plan from the county’s stormwater management staff.
The commission will consider adopting the new stormwater fee, and thus creating a new stormwater utility, at its 7 p.m. meeting Thursday night at the county’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.
Similar to how Peachtree City and Tyrone fund their stormwater utilities, Fayette County would apply its rate based on the total amount of square footage of impervious surface on each lot. Fayette County’s proposed rate would be 35 cents per month for each 1,000 square feet of impervious surface.
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.
Last month, the commission directed staff to scale back the fees, in particular because of the effect they would have on schools and churches, who would have to pay larger fees directly attributable to the size of their parking lots, for example.
To scale back the fees, county stormwater staff have also had to scale back the vision for the utility. That means eschewing additional staff in the form of a three-person maintenance crew, which has been deleted from the three-year budget.
The county has an estimated 6.7 miles of stormwater pipe running underneath roads in what is deemed as the “worst” condition which need either repair or replacement.
A project to replace one such pipe, which runs under Merrydale Drive, is projected to cost upwards of $100,000.
Commissioner Allen McCarty has said on several occasions that he prefers not implementing a stormwater fee at all, but instead spending money on stormwater improvements — particularly for pipes underneath roads — from the county’s 2004 transportation sales tax revenues.
County staff in July said that was not feasible because the SPLOST project list did not match up with the pipes that need replacing as identified by the stormwater department.
The county currently funds stormwater operations out of the general fund, but that has not provided enough funds to adequately address capital needs, county staff have told the commission.