The City of Kingsport has implemented a stormwater utility. The Federal Clean Water Act requires cities with more than 10,000 residents to implement a stormwater program to control and monitor polluted stormwater runoff. This federal requirement is unfunded, meaning that each city must find a way to pay for the program. In addition, the city wishes to address long-standing stormwater flooding issues that affect local citizens. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the new stormwater utility:
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is runoff from rain or snow. City landscapes cause water to accumulate above the surface instead of slowly filtering into the ground. As that water runs off, it picks up pollutants and debris from roadways, parking lots, etc., before entering our streams.
What is the purpose of a stormwater utility?
The utility will address stormwater pollution and flooding issues in Kingsport. With dedicated funding, it will allow the city to reduce runoff contaminants while prioritizing and initiating select flood mitigation projects.
Who decided a stormwater utility was the best way to manage the process?
A group of 12 Kingsport citizens, representing commercial, retail, industrial, nonprofit and residential interests, have studied the issue as part of an advisory committee that was formed in 2009. After much research, the committee has recommended a stormwater utility as the best solution.
How will the utility be funded?
The stormwater utility will be funded with a fee on customers’ water/sewer bills. For residential customers, the committee is recommending that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen consider a fee that will average $3.50 per month. For nonresidential
customers, the fee would be based on the measured impervious area for the property and would be charged in direct proportion to the average residential customer.