Stormwater fees support costs directly related to functions of a Stormwater Management Program. Revenues collected from the stormwater fee allow the City to plan, operate, and maintain Pinellas Park’s stormwater system, which includes stormwater pipe, manholes, outfalls, catch basins, ditches, canals and storm drains. These functions support the Clean Water Act of 1972 and help control flooding, enhance water quality, and minimize the environmental impact of stormwater pollution. Stormwater fees can be used only for stormwater activities and cannot be used for other purposes. The fee can only be used for stormwater management purposes to include operation, repair, maintenance, improvement, rehabilitation, replacement, design, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, and construction of public stormwater management utility facilities, and related costs.
2. How do properties pay for stormwater improvements?
The stormwater utility fee has been charged on the monthly utility bill since 2006. The City is proposing removing the stormwater fee from the utility bill and placing it on the annual property tax bill. All property owners, including those of single-family, condo, and commercial properties, will be billed an annual stormwater fee to share the cost of planning, installing and maintaining stormwater infrastructure. The infrastructure is intended to benefit all property owners by reducing flooding, keeping roads passable, safeguarding property access, and protecting properties.
3. Why is Pinellas Park changing the stormwater fee structure?
Stormwater management is critical to minimize flooding and improve the quality of our waterways. It is a top priority for the City of Pinellas Park and its residents and businesses. The City Council is committed to addressing the complex stormwater challenges that exist in our area. We need to make significant investments in our stormwater system now to address aging infrastructure, to prepare for the future, and ensure we can continue to provide quality stormwater services to our residents and businesses.
The City hired Stantec Consulting Services Inc. to conduct a stormwater rate study to analyze how much revenue would be required to maintain the stormwater system and meet the needs of the community. Based on the consultant recommendations, the City plans to update its approach to stormwater billing and adopt a new stormwater fee structure to ensure it can fund operating and maintenance expenses, major infrastructure improvements and create a stronger, more resilient community. As part of the study, Stantec developed a fee structure that would equitably recover the costs of the stormwater system from properties throughout the City in proportion to the benefit that each property receives from the stormwater system.
4. Is the City raising taxes to pay for stormwater improvements?
The City is not raising taxes. Payment of the stormwater utility fee is moving from the monthly utility bill to the annual property tax bill as a non-ad valorem assessment. Non-ad valorem means the amount of the fee is not determined by the value of a property.
5. When was the stormwater rate study shared with the community?
Stantec Consulting Services Inc. presented their research and findings to the City Council at a Stormwater Workshop on June 23, 2020 and during “Our Town Talks Stormwater” live on May 4, 2021. The City has a recording of Our Town Talks Stormwater from May 4, 2021 on the website to watch: www.pinellas-park.com
6. Why is my stormwater rate moving from my utility bill to my property tax bill?
Based on the study completed by Stantec Consulting Services Inc., it was recommended that the stormwater rate be moved from the monthly utility bill to the annual property tax bill, as a Non-Ad Valorem assessment. Using the property tax bill is the most efficient and straightforward method of assessing and collecting stormwater fees.
7. When will my stormwater rate move to my tax bill?
Beginning in mid-October 2021, your stormwater rate will be billed annually on your property tax bill instead of monthly on your utility bill. The annual stormwater management fee is for the period from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. The annual fee will appear as a stormwater assessment in the Non-Ad Valorem Taxes section of your Property Tax bill. Depending on your billing cycle, some neighbors who receive a utility bill in early October may see a stormwater charge on their October 2021 utility bill for the period from the last bill date to the end of September 2021.
8. How can I provide input regarding the Stormwater Non-Ad Valorem Assessment?
The City Council will hold a first reading of the proposed assessment on August 12 at 5:30 p.m. and a public hearing August 26 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed Stormwater Non-Ad Valorem Assessment.