Stormwater Fees Go Down
special to NPT
Posted on May 7, 2008
Editor's note: The following information was provided via a news release from the Public Service Board. The photos were taken by NPT staff. CORRECTED at 9 a.m., May 8, 2008: The PSB sent sent a corrected version, noting the decrease of 37 percent. The utility news release initially calculated the decrease incorrectly.
In a special May 7 meeting, the Public Service Board adjusted the fees charged to El Pasoans for stormwater management.
Residential and non-residential fees will be reduced by 37 percent, effective June 7, 2008. Because the fee reduction reflects revenues collected for March, April and May, the new fees are not retroactive.
The adjustment followed a round of meetings during which the El Paso Water Utilities staff and Public Service Board members solicited comments from residents and members of the business community. Attendees understood the need for infrastructure improvements and a higher-level of stormwater service; however, many complained that the fees were too high.
“We are balancing the public safety risk against customer affordability,” said President and CEO Ed Archuleta. “People tell us they are willing to accept more risk, so we are increasing the timeline for completing the capital infrastructure projects. The program will not be as aggressive as we had originally planned.”
Master planning, increased system maintenance and open space preservation will not be affected, but some projects will be delayed. These changes reduce the stormwater utility’s 10-year capital budget from $276 million to $156 million, which results in a substantial decrease in stormwater fees.
The new fees are effective June 7, 2008:
-- Residential fees are charged in three categories. Small is 0–1,200 square feet, and the charge will go from $2.38 to $1.49. Typical is 1,201–3,000 square feet, and the charge will go from $4.75 to $2.97. Large is 3,000 square feet and above, and the charge will go from $9.50 to $5.94.
-- Non-Residential fee charges will go from $4.85 per 2,000 square feet of impermeable surface to $3.03.
All schools, social service and nonprofit agencies, and churches will pay 25 percent of the new rate this year, 50 percent in the second year, and 75 percent in the third year. Beginning with the fourth year, they will pay the full non-residential fee. This change allows these entities to plan for and budget stormwater fees.
The Board also approved an additional 10 percent credit for non-residential customers who have on-site ponds required by city ordinance. Entities must apply for exemptions, such as ponding or nonprofit status, on an annual basis.
No further adjustment to the fees will be required for three years or more.
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