Stormwater Utility Update
On April 25, 2017 The Selectboard adopted amendments to the Colchester Code of Ordinances, which will allow the creation of a Stormwater Utility in Colchester. The Stormwater Utility will oversee all aspects of the stormwater system and setting of fees. The Board of Sewer Commissioners will be asked to approve the budget and fees for the Utility at the Selectboard meeting on May 23. Here are few FAQs about stormwater and the need for a Stormwater Utility:
- Why is stormwater even an issue?
Rain that can’t be absorbed directly into the ground travels over hard surfaces to storm drains. Along the way it picks up surface pollutants that wind up in streams, rivers, ponds, and Lake Champlain. These pollutants negatively impact the lake’s ecosystem, contributing to toxic blue-green algae blooms; they threaten water quality, revenue from lakeside tourism (the State Treasurer reports this at $2.3-2.9 billion annually), and lakeside property values.
- What’s wrong with the way we handle stormwater now?
Colchester’s stormwater system is inadequate and aging; it’s in need of major repairs and/or replacement. In fact, many areas of Town have no stormwater systems at all. With Colchester’s 27 miles of shoreline, it is imperative that we preserve and protect our portion of Lake Champlain. To our north some lakeside properties have declined in value due to continual severe blue-green algae blooms. We don’t want that to happen here in Colchester!
- How much will I pay?
How will my fee be calculated? Stormwater fees will be based upon the amount of impervious surface on each property. Single family homes, duplexes, and triplexes with less than one acre of impervious surface will pay a flat fee of $52.39 per year. All other properties will be directly assessed and those fees will be based on the actual area of impervious surface.
- My driveway is gravel…do I still have to pay?
All property owners will pay at least a minimum fee. All of us need to contribute to solving the problem as we all live within watersheds that drain into our streams and rivers that lead to the lake. The fees are calculated to be fair and equitable to all Colchester property owners.
- You are invited:
A public meeting/hearing will be held at the upcoming Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:45 PM to hear public comment on the FY18 Stormwater Budget and the establishment of the stormwater fees. We encourage Colchester property owners to attend. For more information about the Stormwater Utility call 264-5620 or 264-5606.