On January 20, 2009, the Frisco City Council approved a Storm Water Utility Fee that is billed and collected through monthly water utility bills. The city will begin charging the fee October 1, 2009. The following "frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers” have been designed to provide information to customers on the Storm Water Management Program.
What is storm water?
Storm water is rain that does not absorb into the soil and runs off buildings, roads and other surfaces into storm water systems, streams, creeks and rivers.
What is a storm water utility fee?
It is a monthly fee to pay for maintaining Frisco’s Storm Water Management Program. In the past, urban drainage systems were developed to carry runoff from a major storm safely through the area being developed. Now the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires communities to control water pollution caused by storm water runoff. The storm water utility fee will cover the costs of staff, equipment, regulatory fees and public education efforts as part of the City of Frisco’s Storm Water Management Program.
Why is Frisco charging a storm water fee now?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued new storm water regulations that require communities to control water pollution caused by storm water runoff. In addition to meeting the city’s current storm water needs, the new Storm Water Utility Fund will provide the city with the tools necessary to meet the federal and state regulatory requirements. Storm Water Management is a Federal requirement that affects municipalities nationwide.
Previously, the City of Frisco covered the costs of storm water management on an as-needed basis. The city’s explosive growth in population and infrastructure demands Frisco join other cities in North Texas that already have a storm water fee in place. Just as the City of Frisco maintains roads and other infrastructure, the city will now better maintain the storm water system with the assistance of the Storm Water Utility Fund.
What will the Storm Water Fee pay for?
The Storm Water Fee will be used to pay for the following:
· Emergency maintenance of storm water lines, ditches, and creeks
· Maintenance of city-owned Storm Water Management facilities
· Street sweeping
· Grading and drainage plan reviews
· Construction site inspection for erosion control
· Public education and outreach
· Storm water management master planning
· Storm water system mapping
· Outfall inspections and maintenance
· Development and enforcement of erosion control ordinances
· Training programs
· Response to public inquiries, violations, reports and complaints
· Record keeping
How much will the average residential water customer pay?
Single-family residential properties are assessed one of the three rates provided in the table below. All single family homes are divided into one of three tiers. The rates are based on lot sizes and the impervious area associated with the residential parcel/lot (see table).
*93 percent of residential accounts fall within Tier II.
*Staff evaluated 50 percent of Frisco’s residential properties (approximately 20,000) to determine the average lot size and to develop the tiered fee structure below.
Single Family Residential Properties
< 5,000 SF
5,000 - 20,000 SF
> 20,000 SF
What will nonresidential customers pay?
Nonresidential customers are defined as those properties not considered a single family residential structure. These properties include multifamily, commercial, industrial, governmental, institutional and agricultural properties. Nonresidential properties are assessed a rate based on $0.57 per 1,000 square feet of impervious area.
All impervious area within a multi-tenant facility such as a shopping center or apartment complex is consolidated into one bill. The bill will be sent to the owner or person responsible for the improvements of the property or management association.
What does impervious mean?
Impervious is defined as a surface that does not absorb water. Several examples of impervious areas include asphalt or concrete pavement, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and buildings.
How does the city know the impervious area of a property?
City staff found impervious areas based on actual data the City has compiled through its Geographical Information System (GIS) that uses aerial photography to identify and measure impervious area. View the GIS Mapping System online at: FriscoTexas.gov/maps
What do I do if I think the impervious area calculated by the city is incorrect?
A customer may provide additional information for their property, including a survey or site plan showing the buildings and parking lot. Print out an appeal form to submit with your documentation. City staff will review the information against the aerials used to calculate the impervious areas. Contact Engineering Services at 972-292-5400.
Why do I have a drainage fee on one meter and not on all meters?
Every attempt will be made to charge the main account linked to a parcel/lot of land.
My fee seems too high. What can I do?
If you feel your bill is incorrect, you can fill out an appeal form. City staff will review and provide you with a credit for any (applicable) overcharges that your account has incurred.
How long does the appeal process take?
Appeals will be reviewed within 30 days of the receipt of the petition form. Water customers will be notified by mail of the outcome of the appeal.
I am retired/disabled and living on a fixed income. Am I eligible for a discount?
No. The city does not provide utility charge reduction for elderly, disabled or low-income customers.
What other information should customers know related to the storm water fee?
· Delinquent payments: Failure to pay storm water fees promptly when due can result in a late fee and discontinuance of any utility services provided by the city.
· Classification of apartments: Apartments are considered nonresidential for the purpose of the calculation of the storm water fee.
What are some of the city’s challenges in managing storm water?
As rain falls on agricultural and undeveloped areas, it is primarily absorbed into the ground or slowly runs off into streams, rivers or other bodies of water; however, development including buildings and paved areas blocks water from being absorbed. Having a storm water management program allows the city to better maintain the drainage system.
The primary storm water management challenges include:
· Increased sources of storm water pollution,
· Erosion along creeks and streams,
· Sedimentation in water ways,
· Localized flooding,
· Debris in creeks and streams,
· Maintaining infrastructure.
Storm water can carry contaminants such as plastic bags, detergents, heavy metals and pollution that can be harmful to the environment. In addition, erosion can contribute to the contaminants in storm water runoff, as well as damage residential and commercial property. Debris that is swept into creeks and waterways during storm events can prevent the proper movement of storm water, increasing the risk of flooding.
What is the city doing to minimize the impact of storm water?
The City of Frisco has a number of programs that specifically target the problems associated with storm water.
· Inspection and Prevention – City staff inspects and monitors construction sites to ensure proper controls are in place to minimize runoff.
· Planning & Engineering – City engineers review design and construction plans for the impact of storm water.
· Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance – City engineers and maintenance crews work to design new storm water infrastructure and to maintain existing storm water infrastructure.
Who administers the Storm Water Program and the Storm Water Fee?
Although the fee is billed through the City of Frisco Utility Bill Division, the storm water program is administered by the Engineering Services Department. For additional information about storm water management, please contact Engineering Services at 972-292-5400. For billing questions, please call Utility Billing at 972-292-5575.