Tag: stormwater (page 1 of 3)

A New Fee: Why Develop a Stormwater Utility, Where does the Money Go?

Leigh DeForest is a graduate fellow in the 2019 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. As a part of the LEAF Fellowship, Leigh spent the summer of 2019 working at Triangle J Council of Governments. While at Triangle J she researched the ancillary benefits of stormwater utilities and green stormwater infrastructure as well as contributing to the Jordan Lake One Water initiative.

When communities consider establishing a potential new stormwater fee, residents may inquire about why they are being charged and where their money is going. Forming a stormwater utility fee creates a dedicated revenue source that can be used to support long-term planning for the control of urban stormwater runoff that benefits both the community’s functionality and the surrounding environment. Both permitted and non-permitted municipalities can benefit from instituting a stormwater utility. Continue reading

Stormwater Utility Fees in North Carolina: Now and Then

On March 11, 2019, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (EFC) will host a free, interactive webinar on the current state of stormwater fees and finance in North Carolina. In addition to a brief trend analysis to show how stormwater fees have changed in the state since 2010, the webinar will include an update on the recently released Table of Stormwater Fees and Fee Structures in North Carolina for the 2018-19 Fiscal Year and a demonstration of the upcoming 2019 North Carolina Stormwater Rates Dashboard. You can sign up for the webinar here.

If you’re new to the world of stormwater, you may be interested in reading our NC stormwater fees survey update blog from last year. In it you will find a more in-depth explanation of some of the terminology used in this blog. Read on for a preview of what will be discussed in our upcoming webinar: Continue reading

Local Government Financial Resilience and Preparation Before a Natural Disaster

The 2017 U.S. Atlantic hurricane season is officially the most expensive ever, amounting to $202.6 billion in damages across the Atlantic basin. This record-breaking hurricane season brought some of the most catastrophic storms in recent memory. As Hurricane Katrina reshaped New Orleans in 2005, the destruction induced by Harvey, Irma, and Maria will have lasting consequences for cities and towns in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The devastation is likely to be even more long-lasting for many of the hardest hit small islands across the Caribbean. And hurricanes are not the only natural disasters with a hefty price tag; drought, freezing temperatures, severe storms, wildfires, and winter storms cause billions of dollars in damages every year.

As a result of rapid urbanization, climate change, and increases in population and material wealth continue to mount, municipalities are becoming extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, making it necessary for local governments to become more resilient to catastrophes. Natural disaster resiliency often focuses on the built environment and hazard mitigation, but what about weathering the storm from a financial perspective? The following tips can help a local government be financially resilient in the face of a natural disaster: Continue reading

Staying Up to Date with North Carolina Stormwater Utility Fees

In order to better understand the stormwater finance and governance landscape, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently inventoried and analyzed the stormwater fees used by 74 municipalities and three counties charging stormwater utility fees across North Carolina . These fees are used to fund programs and activities that improve surface water quality, help meet regulatory requirements, and address a variety of critical stormwater and drainage management needs.  Before a deep dive into North Carolina stormwater fees, we’ve provided a review of some relevant terminology: Continue reading

Five Communication Tips for Stormwater Incentive Programs

Stormwater incentive programs are a creative tool used by some towns and cities to encourage community participation in stormwater management practices. Many of the incentive programs encourage citizens to install green stormwater infrastructure projects on their property. Stormwater ‘incentive’ programs can be found in municipalities across the United States and can take on a variety of formats; rebates, grants, cost sharing, and loans are some of the most popular methods. These programs usually offer incentives for both commercial and residential property owners, and they encourage projects like rain gardens, cisterns, rain barrels, green roofs, bioswales, permeable pavers, and native tree plantings.

Projects like this help improve the water quality of impacted water bodies by preventing pollutants from entering waterways and mitigating flooding problems in impacted areas. While the benefit of using these practices is substantial, offering financial incentives tends to boost interest from property owners to participate in such programs.  Continue reading

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