Roanoke County residents to decide on Stormwater cost structure - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roanoke County residents to decide on Stormwater cost structure

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The long term goal is to make Roanoke County water ways clean enough to drink out of them.

But first the county must tackle the root of the problem cleaning up storm drains and how to pay to fix the problem.

Now the decision will be based on the communities input.

Tarek Moneir, Deputy Director of Development Services for Roanoke County says the community’s voice plays a big role in the final decision.

"They need to hear all of the comments, all of the input from others as well," Moneir said.

After eight months of research the storm water committee has come up with four funding options which include:

      ·         A fee based off of real estate tax. Key considerations:

         o    Tax-exempt properties do not pay.

         o    Funds are not legally segregated from other uses.

         o    Does not provide credit for on-site stormwater facilities.

         o    Less stable –annually competes with other budget items.

      ·         Dividing the county into districts and using a service district fee. Key considerations:

         o    Same revenue generation as real property tax

         o    Tax-exempt properties do not pay.

         o    Funds are legally segregated from other uses

         o    Allows for greater stability

     ·         Stormwater Utility Fee. Key considerations:

         o    Cost based on impervious cover.

         o    Tax-exempt properties do pay.

         o    Funds are legally segregated from other uses.

         o    Allows for greater program stability.

      ·         Utility Fee Rate Structure Options. Key considerations:

         o    Flat rate for single family residential detached versus all other properties.

         o    Tiered Rate for residential/Flat rate for Single Family detached

         o    Straight impervious cover (same as Roanoke City) Bill increments of 500 square feet

Joining in the conversation tonight is Steve Sunderman who works as a consultant for sustainable paving programs.

"If someone is doing something to mitigate storm water on their property they need to get credit for that as an incentive to do better. You can maintain and do a lot of what we call low-impact development on your property and if you do that, you aren't contributing to the storm water management issues off site there fore you should be able to get a credit for that," Sunderman said.

Many had concerns about the impact on low income families and an additional fee on top of income, personal property and real estate taxes. Dale Sheets wants to make sure all fees paid will stay in the county.

"If Roanoke people pay the tax, I would like to have assurances that it stays here in the county to make rain water improvements to prevent excessive rain water," Sheets said.

All public comments taken this week will play a major role in the final proposal.

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