Public hearing for Albemarle’s proposed stormwater utility program nears

A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 3 inside Albemarle City Hall concerning the proposed stormwater utility program.

Following the hearing, City Council plans to make a decision on the stormwater plan during its Jan. 9 meeting.

The city has been working with the Charlotte-based community infrastructure consulting firm WK Dickson since February 2021 about developing a stormwater management program to address residents’ concerns about flooding.

Originally proposed in early 2022 to be $11.50 per month, the proposed fee was later reduced to $5.80 per month after several residents expressed concerns about the fee structure during a May public input session.

The proposed stormwater program, if approved by Council, would cost about $1.16 million, considerably less than the original cost of $2.2 million.

Under the original proposal, residents would have seen a slight reduction in their solid waste fee as leaf collection would have been part of the stormwater program. In the new proposal, leaf collection will remain part of the solid waste fee.

While residents would pay the flat rate of $5.80, non-residential customers, under the revised proposal, would be billed based upon equivalent residential units (ERUs), which is the amount of impervious surface area on a typical single family property in the city. The median impervious surface area of such homes is 3,270 square feet.

So, for example, if a local business had about 9,300 square feet of impervious surface, that would be roughly three ERUs (9,300 divided by 3,270). When multiplied by the new monthly rate of $5.80, the business would pay about $16 per month, less than the $33 it would have paid under the original $11.50 plan.

Fees collected by a stormwater utility would be used to pay for aging infrastructure, “reducing the severity, frequency and duration of flooding, clearing debris from streams and pipes, and operations and maintenance of the system,” according to the city’s website.