Drainage Fee Questions

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Drainage Fee Questions

Postby Ann Kitchen » Fri May 29, 2015 2:34 pm

All

Following the Public Hearing on May 21st of potential changes to the drainage fee methodology, the Council passed the item on 2nd reading and asked the Public Utility Committee to work with staff on developing options to address issues that were raised.

The Public Utility Committee will consider at the next meeting on June 17th and the item is scheduled to return to Council on June 18th.

PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED ANY ADDITIONAL ISSUES. The following is the list from our discussion at Council and the last Public Utility Committee meeting:

IDENTIFIED ISSUES:
1. Methodology based on % of impervious cover, rather than amount of impervious cover:
- could have the effect of being contrary to various Imagine Austin goals that encourage smaller lots and higher % of impervious cover
- doesn't account for developments (like Mueller) that cluster development, providing more open space and shared water quality features
- doesn't account for value of innovative green infrastructure/water catchment/infiltration installations on properties of any type

2. Methodology doesn't offer discounts for installed water quality treatment facilities (eg like Freescale testified to) and discontinuation of pond discount.

3. Methodology doesn't address affordability issues for certain populations
- the potiential for unplanned, relatively large increases for elderly and others on fixed incomes living in single family homes
- concerns about preventing pass through charges to renters even though the owner is billed
- impact on renters who currently use the CAP program for help with their utility bill, who will no longer receive a drainage fee bill

The Committee also requested (1) options for allocating drainage fee based on square footage rather than percentage; and (2) impact of fee on costs for homeowners, renters and small businesses. A memo has been provided with information related to the impact of the fee on the costs for various size homes.

Thanks All.

Ann Kitchen
City Councilmember District 5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5
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Re: Drainage Fee Questions

Postby Don Zimmerman » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:27 am

CM Kitchen,

I believe that sums up the policy questions well. I would recommend leading with this important agenda item for the next Public Utility Committee. If we know that CM Garza will be on leave for the June PUC meeting, I'd like to move ahead with you on firming up the June agenda.

Don
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)
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Re: Drainage Fee Questions

Postby Donna Tiemann » Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:34 pm

Council Member Kitchen will offer two proposals for consideration, amending Part 6 in the ordinance in back-up to allow a maximum charge cap or a percentage cap on single family residential properties by separate ordinance.

§ 15-2-7 MONTHLY DRAINAGE CHARGE (new C added to ordinance in back up)

(C) After computing the monthly drainage charge as described in subsections (A) and (B), the monthly drainage charge for single family residential properties may be modified by limiting any increase in the charge to be assessed October 1, 2015 – October 1, 2016 as compared to the charge assessed October 1, 2014 – October 1, 2015 by imposing a maximum charge, if established by separate ordinance.

OR

(C) After computing the monthly drainage charge as described in subsections (A) and (B), the monthly drainage charge for single family residential properties may be modified by limiting any increase in the charge to be assessed October 1, 2015 – October 1, 2016 as compared to the charge assessed October 1, 2014 – October 1, 2015 by a percentage, if established by separate ordinance.

Additionally, she provides for consideration, amending Part 4 to allow properties tied together for development as a condo regime or other unified development to be combined when calculating impervious cover; Part 9 to include impact of green infrastructure in the annual report; and Part 14 to clarify that only the discount element of the Customer Assistance Program is applicable to the drainage charge.


Part 4.
§ 15-2-5 IMPERVIOUS COVER CALCULATION.
C) The percentage of impervious cover on a benefitted property may be calculated on a composite basis with another benefitted property if:
(1) the properties together constitute a condominium regime; or
(2) the properties were legally developed together as one site as evidenced by a unified development agreement, city site plan, or other acceptable documentation.

Part 9.
§ 15-2-10 ANNUAL REPORT.
The director shall provide an annual report of the drainage utility revenues, expenses, and programs to the city council. The annual report shall include findings on the impact of green infrastructure on drainage and recommended strategies that could allow utility customers to reduce the drainage charge by reducing their property’s impact on drainage. The recommended strategies shall address the potential for credits or discounts for innovative stormwater controls that exceed land development requirements and/or detention and water quality treatment minimum requirements.

Part 14.
§ 15-2-14 REDUCED CHARGE BASED ON NEED.
(A) A utility customer who qualifies for assistance under Austin Energy’s Customer Assistance Discount Program may request a reduced drainage charge based on financial need.
Chief of Staff
Office of Council Member Ann Kitchen, District 5
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