FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2019
Contact: Alan Pugh
Public Encouraged to Provide Input on Priorities for Proposed Stormwater Utility Fee
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— As part of an ongoing Flood Management and Water Quality Funding Study undertaken by the City of Fayetteville in 2018, members of the public are asked to provide feedback regarding prioritization of possible drainage and water quality projects to be funded through a proposed stormwater utility fee. City residents and businesses are encouraged to fill out a new survey published on the City’s public engagement portal, Speak Up Fayetteville.
The study has provided in-depth data regarding the need for additional funding for the ongoing management and maintenance of the citywide drainage system. The City’s Drainage Improvement Plan, adopted by City Council after the major flooding event of 2017, provided a roadmap for repair and improvement of the City’s drainage infrastructure, and the 2019 bond issue, passed by voters in April, allocated some $15 million toward these construction projects. However, current annual funding levels fall short for the routine maintenance necessary to keep the system healthy into the future.
Current funding stands at $1.5 million per year, which covers the costs of “reactionary,” repairs as needed, but does not provide for the regular inspections, routine clean-out, and scheduled replacement of drainage features that can prevent stormwater problems before they start. An estimated additional $3 million will be needed annually to cover these costs.
After a number of possible funding models were investigated, the study concluded that a stormwater utility fee, paid by property owners, would be the most equitable choice. The fee would be based on the amount of hard-surface area—such as concrete, roof-top or asphalt—on their property. These surfaces do not allow rainwater to pass through, and so contribute to stormwater run-off.
The new survey will collect public opinion on the proposal, and will garner input regarding how community residents feel the stormwater utility funds would best be used. The priority options range from protecting water quality from pollutants carried by runoff to proactively clearing debris from drainage ditches and pipes.
“The purpose of this latest survey is to gauge the public’s response to this proposed method of funding, and to get an idea of where our residents feel the greatest need is for managing stormwater,” said Alan Pugh, Fayetteville staff engineer. “We’ve had a number of public meetings to talk with residents and businesses about the various possible models for the extent of service needed and means of funding it. Now that we are ready to propose a specific program, it’s important we get a clear response from the community. I hope everyone will take a minute to fill out this online survey. It takes only a few minutes, and will be very helpful to the City in making a final recommendation.”
The new survey will be available online until 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 30. The Flood Management and Water Quality Funding Study results will be presented to the City Council special committee for approval at the committee meeting July 30 at 5:30 p.m.
Additional information about the Flood Management and Water Quality Funding Study is available on the City’s website: www.fayetteville-ar.gov/stormwater.