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Stormwater Utility Billing and Collections. Keith Readling, PE Vice President AMEC Earth & Environmental 101 W. Friendly Avenue, Suite 603 Greensboro, NC 27401 (336) 691-5398. Public. Program. Finance. Database. DEFINE PUBLIC. DATABASE. PROBLEMS, NEEDS. FUNDING. INFO & ED PLAN.

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Stormwater Utility Billing and Collections

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Stormwater utility billing and collections l.jpg

Stormwater Utility Billing and Collections

Keith Readling, PE

Vice President

AMEC Earth & Environmental

101 W. Friendly Avenue, Suite 603

Greensboro, NC 27401

(336) 691-5398


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Public

Program

Finance

Database

DEFINE PUBLIC

DATABASE

PROBLEMS, NEEDS

FUNDING

INFO & ED PLAN

POLICY ISSUES

AND GOALS

LEGAL ISSUES

PROGRAM

STAKEHOLDERS

DATA, MATERIALS

FUNDING

PRIORITIES &

& GEN EDUCATION

& INFORMATION

POLICY ISSUES

OBJECTIVES

MASTER

RATE STRUCTURE

COST OF SERVICE

ACCOUNT FILE &

ANALYSIS

ANALYSIS

BILLING DATA

RATE STUDY &

ORGANIZATIONAL

BILLING SYSTEM

CASH FLOW

ISSUES

DEVELOPMENT

ANALYSIS

UTILITY

INQUIRY AND

IMPLEMENTATION

RATE

IMPLEMENTATION

COMPLAINT

CAMPAIGN

ORDINANCE

STEPS

RESPONSE

UTILITY IMPLEMENTATION & CUSTOMER SERVICE


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Stormwater Utility DataInvolves Many Departments Within a Local Government

  • GIS (data directly forming the basis for billing)

  • Tax Assessor (info for classifying parcels, potential billing mechanism)

  • Utility Billing System (potential billing mechanism)

  • Photography

  • Parcels


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Billing for Stormwater – The Basic Premise

  • The basis for billing is often the amount of Impervious Area per Parcel

  • Digital parcels and impervious data layers are the key components in this type of stormwater fee calculation

  • The Simple Impervious rate method is based solely on impervious area

  • Other rate methods exist that involve the Gross Area of a parcel, estimation of development of a parcel, etc.


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Cadastral (Parcel) Data

  • Probably the single most important data element within the Data Track of the utility…can make or break the utility…errors in this data piece will have a ripple effect across the utility

  • Parcel boundary represents the absolute area for potential stormwater billing

  • Horizontal Accuracy?…evolved from tax maps, COGO?

  • Accurate Parcel Identification Numbers (PINs)?

  • Current?

  • How are attached residential structures such as condos or townhouses mapped?


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Parcel Accuracy Issues - Spatial


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Parcel Accuracy Issues – PIN errors


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Impervious Data Layer

  • Typically comprised partially of various planimetric data layers, or generated solely by “heads up” digitizing of aerial imagery

  • Usually includes: building footprints, parking lots, driveways, runways, taxiways, aprons, sidewalks, patios, athletic courts, storage tanks, other hardened surfaces

  • Simple Impervious rate methodology does not differentiate levels of imperviousness


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Aerial Imagery (1.0’ resolution)


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Impervious Data Layer


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Parcel Classification –Single-Family Residential and Non Single-Family Residential

  • Often, impervious area per parcel is only calculated for non single-family residential (NSFR) properties

  • Single-family residential (SFR) properties are often all assigned a flat rate

  • NSFR properties usually represent only 10-20% of total parcels


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Sample Percentages of NSFR Parcels forother Stormwater Utilities


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Flat Rate for SFR Parcels?(one of many Policy Decisions made early in the process)

  • Flat Rate for SFR Parcels is common…relatively little variation in impervious area when compared to NSFR Parcels

  • Entity must have complete impervious data for all parcels if a flat rate for SFR is not employed…significant costs to generate impervious data layer if it doesn’t already exist

  • If impervious data for all parcels is available, SFR parcels are billed in tiers

    Ex. Tier 1 = < 2,500

    Tier 2 = >= 2,500 and < 4,000

    Tier 3 = >= 4,000


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Stormwater Fee Calculation –The Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)

  • Represents the average amount of impervious area found on an SFR parcel

  • Represents the billing unit for stormwater

  • Derived by finding the MEDIAN impervious area in a sample of SFR parcels or a complete census of SFR parcels

  • ERU values across the country typically range from 1,800 to nearly 4,000


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Fee Calculation

ERU = 2,500Rate = $3.00

Impervious Area = 54,256 sq.ft.

54,256 / 2,500 = 21.706 round up to 22 (billing units or ERUs)

22 x ($3.00) = $66.00 / month or $792.00 / year


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Complex Fee Calculations

ERU = 2,500Rate = $3.00

Total Impervious Area = 96,950 sq.ft. for 10 Units within Common Parcel

96,950 / 2,500 = 38.78 round up to 39 (billing units or ERUs)

39 x ($3.00) / 10 (units) = $11.70 / month or $140.40 / year per Unit


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Billing Mechanism – Pros and Cons

  • Tax Bill

  • Stormwater utility is parcel-based

  • Annual billing relieves pressure for daily account maintenance

  • Stormwater fee resembles a tax

  • Less desirable cash flow

  • Decreased ability to enforce non payment of stormwater fee

  • Tax-exempt parcels

  • Utility Billing

  • Stormwater fee is billed with other utility fees

  • Utility System can enforce non-payment

  • Good cash flow

  • Utility Billing System is not parcel-based…technically complex initial translation

  • Demands daily attention


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Utility Billing Challenges –Many to 1 Situations

4 Parcels associated with 1 utility service location


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Utility Billing Challenges –1 to Many Situations

1 parcel associated with 22 utility service locations


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Utility Billing Challenges –Many to Many Situations

263 Parcels and over 50 associated utility service locations with multiple owners


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Stormwater Billing and CollectionsLessons Learned on Account Setup

  • Flat rates for residential single family detached

  • Tiered residential rates

  • Owners vs. tenants

  • Duplexes, triplexes, quads

  • Condominiums and townhouses

  • Tax-exempt properties

  • Many:1 situations

  • Government properties

  • Credits


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Stormwater Billing and CollectionsLessons Learned on Account Maintenance

  • Building permits and planimetric features

  • New photography

  • Tiered residential rates

  • Customer service by phone

  • Customer service maps

  • Credits


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Questions


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