Home News and Features Montpelier To Create Stormwater Utility; New Fee Coming For Property Owners

Montpelier To Create Stormwater Utility; New Fee Coming For Property Owners

Photo by Reza Shayestehpour.
City officials are working on creating a new stormwater utility that will fund stormwater-related services and improvements. The stormwater utility will be funded by a new assessment on all Montpelier properties, including those owned by the state and by nonprofit entities.

“Our intent is to make this a new enterprise fund, like the water and sewer fund, with fees based on the amount of impervious surface,” said Montpelier Public Works Director Kurt Motyka. “We expect the fee will be under $150 a year for a typical single-family home.” Fees will be higher for homes and other properties with more impervious surfaces, like large driveways, parking lots, and rooftops.

Motyka said the city hopes to have the utility up and running in July and said bills could go out as early as September. The stormwater utility was identified as a priority in the city council’s fiscal year 2023 strategic plan, according to the city website.

The website says a stormwater utility “provides a more transparent and adaptable way to fund stormwater management.” It will allow the city to plan for the replacement of aging stormwater infrastructure, as well as allow for more proactive operations and proper staffing levels, the website states. Motyka said the city’s stormwater infrastructure has been underfunded in the past, and some metal stormwater pipes are now “rotting out.”

The utility will support activities such as catch-basin cleaning, street sweeping, flood mitigation projects, green infrastructure, and capital improvements. Many of these are currently funded by the property tax, but the funding change will probably not lead to a tax reduction.

“I can’t say it would result in a reduction in the property tax,” Motyka said. “I think it will result in more infrastructure replacement.” He noted that state and nonprofit buildings currently exempt from property taxes would get charged by the stormwater utility, just as they are charged for water and sewer services.

According to Motyka, several other Vermont municipalities have created stormwater utilities, including South Burlington, Colchester, and other towns in Chittenden County.