Stormwater Drainage Utility Fee Increase
Continuous improvement of the City of Port Orange’s stormwater system is a top priority. This includes the environmental impacts of stormwater runoff, the need to reduce flooding throughout the City, and the requirement to comply with federal regulations. The City has identified a need for greater resources to address these ongoing issues, and will consider a modest increase of Stormwater Fees to be phased in over three years.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permitting program, as implemented by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), required the City to enhance its stormwater management services. To finance these improvements and meet the necessary requirements, the City implemented a dedicated funding source in the form of a Stormwater Drainage Utility Fee (“Stormwater Fee”) in 1986. The Stormwater Fee is designed to generate revenues that will be used to fund various stormwater management projects and initiatives. These projects may include constructing or upgrading stormwater infrastructure, implementing erosion control measures, creating new retention ponds, improving drainage systems, and conducting public education and outreach campaigns on stormwater best management practices.
The City currently maintains 136 stormwater ponds, 86,000 linear feet of canals and ditches along with 518,000 linear feet of stormwater pipes. In addition, the City maintains more than 4,000 inlets into our stormwater conveyance system with 14 State designated outfalls or discharges into the Halifax River. The City has on the horizon $55.9 million in new stormwater infrastructure projects to continue ongoing efforts to improve and strengthen the drainage system to over 23,000 property owners.
Chapter 74, Article V of the Code of Ordinances, City of Port Orange, Florida (the "Stormwater Utility Ordinance") establishes the City's stormwater drainage utility and authorizes imposition of the annual Stormwater Fee to fund the costs incurred by the City in providing stormwater services, facilities, equipment, and improvements each year. The Stormwater Utility Ordinance describes how the fee is calculated and authorizes collection of the fee pursuant to the uniform collection method set forth in section 197.3632, Florida Statutes (the "Uniform Collection Act"), pursuant to which non-ad valorem assessments such as the Stormwater Fee may be collected on the annual ad valorem tax bill mailed each November. The City has imposed the Stormwater Fee and collected the fee pursuant to the uniform collection method each year since 2005.
The City Council of Port Orange will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., or soon thereafter, on September 5, 2023, in the City Council Chambers on the First Floor of City Hall, 1000 City Center Circle, Port Orange, FL 32129, to consider approving the Stormwater Fee for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2023 ("Fiscal Year 2023-24"). During the public hearing, the City Council will receive comments on the proposed Stormwater Fee including collection on the ad valorem tax bill.
The Stormwater Fee for each property is based upon the estimated amount of stormwater runoff generated by impervious surface on your property. Impervious surfaces include the rooftop, patios, driveways, parking lots and similar areas. The City has determined that the average single-family residence in the City includes 3,050 square feet of impervious surface, which is the value of one equivalent “single family unit" ("SFU"), the unit of measurement to be applied against each parcel to determine the fee. Single-family residential parcels, mobile home units and residential condominium units are each assigned one SFU. For non-residential property such as commercial parcels, the number of SFUs has been calculated individually for each parcel of property by dividing the impervious surface area by 3,050 square feet. Vacant unimproved land in its natural state is not subject to the Stormwater Fee.
The proposed maximum rate of the Stormwater Fee for Fiscal Year 2023-24 is $160.00 per Single Family Unit (SFUs) which is also the maximum rate that can be imposed without further mailed notice for future fiscal years. The City intends to increase this fee from the current $115.00 per SFU over the next three years to reach the maximum $160.00 per SFU in Fiscal Year 2025-26. It is estimated that the City will collect $5,165,538.22 from the Stormwater Fee for Fiscal Year 2023-24. If there is a mistake in this notice, it will be corrected.
If approved by City Council at the September 5 public hearing, the Stormwater Fee for the above-referenced parcel will be collected by the Tax Collector of Volusia County on the ad valorem tax bill mailed each November, including November 2023. Florida law provides that failure to pay the Stormwater Fee will cause a tax certificate to be issued against the property which may result in a loss of title.
Section 74-161 of the Stormwater Utility Ordinance provides that non-residential property served by its own stormwater facilities may be eligible for a credit against a portion of the Stormwater Fee.
You and all affected property owners have a right to appear at the September 5 public hearing and to file written objections with the City Council within 20 days of this notice. If you would like a copy of the Stormwater Fee Ordinance for review or wish to file a written objection, please contact the City Clerk, Attn: Stormwater Fee, 1000 City Center Circle, Port Orange, Florida 32129.
If you decide to appeal any decision made by the City Council with respect to any matter considered at the public hearing, you will need a record of the proceedings and may need to ensure that a verbatim record is made, including the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be made. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need a special accommodation or an interpreter to participate in this proceeding, please contact the City Clerk for the City of Port Orange, 1000 City Center Circle, Port Orange, Florida 32129, telephone number 386-506-5563, [email protected], at least five days prior to the date of the meeting date.
For further information about the Stormwater Fee, call (386) 506-5720 or email [email protected]