Stormwater Utility Feasibility Study

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In 2020, the County commissioned a study to explore the feasibility of transitioning from the Sanitary District Tax to a stormwater user fee funding model, which has been done by many Virginia communities.

The May 2020 interim study provided an initial review of current stormwater funding methods, needs and levels; different types of funding mechanisms; and compared Arlington County with other localities in Virginia. The November 2020 final study provided a more detailed analysis of how a Stormwater Utility would affect different types of customers, examined different rate structures, and presented initial cost estimates for implementation and ongoing utility operation.

Following a work session in early 2022, the County engaged with the public and the Stormwater Utility Community Advisory Group for feedback to shape the implementation of the utility fee, which officially went live in 2024.

Need for Increased Investment

Cardinal vault.jpg The rise in severe and devastating flooding in our area requires the County to increase its investments in our stormwater system. These investments will help maintain and upgrade our stormwater infrastructure to better protect the community. Staff have identified the types of significant investments required to ensure watershed scale stormwater system improvement. Given the complexity, scale, and scope of these investments, these initial capacity improvement projects will take place over at least the next 10 years. The County has significantly increased funding for the stormwater management program in the recently adopted Capital Improvement Plan. The County must also invest in water quality improvement projects required to meet the Chesapeake Bay requirements in the County’s stormwater permit.

About the Process

Phase 1: Research and Feasibility Analysis (2020 – 2021)

 

Phase 2: Development and Implementation of a Stormwater Utility (2022 – 2023)

  • Feb. 1, 2022: The County Board directed staff at a work session to move forward with the development and implementation of a Stormwater Utility. 
  • Jan. 31, 2023: During a work session, the Board approved the rate structure and draft stormwater utility credit program and directed staff to delay implementation of the Stormwater Utility to 2024.
  • April 22, 2023: The Board voted on a resolution to adopt the Stormwater Utility fee during the spring 2023 budget process.
  • 2022 - 2023: The County engaged with customers from a broad and representative range of backgrounds and interests via online feedback forms, public forums, and other engagement methods. View a summary of the public engagement(PDF, 3MB) and additional materials below.

     

Meetings and Presentations

 

Meeting Date    Meeting Information    Meeting Materials  
Feb. 1, 2022 County Board Work Session 
April 12, 2022 Presentation to Civic Federation 
June 1, 2022 Chamber of Commerce, Government Affairs Committee
July 17, 2022 Stormwater Utility Open House, Lubber Run Community Center
September 14, 2022 Arlington Neighborhood Village Presentation
September 28, 2022 Information Session for Faith-based Organizations     
September 29, 2022 Interfaith Alliance Meeting 
November 2, 2022 Information Session for Non-Profit Organizations 
December 15, 2022  Forestry and Natural Resource Commission
January 31, 2023 County Board Work Session
February 18, 2023 County Board Meeting: Request to advertise resolution to adopt a Stormwater Utility
March 28, 2023  County Board Meeting: Public Hearing on the FY 2024 Budget
April 22, 2023 County Board Meeting: Board adopts FY 2024 Budget 
May 19, 2023 Stormwater Utility Virtual Information Session 
June 2, 2023 Stormwater Utility Virtual Information Session
June 27, 2023 Stormwater Utility Virtual Information Session
October 10, 2023 Stormwater Utility Hybrid Information Session

November 1, 2023

 Stormwater Utility Q&A Session  

December 6, 2023

 Stormwater Utility Q&A Session  

January 10, 2024

Stormwater Utility Q&A Session

 

Stormwater Utility Community Advisory Group

The County formed an advisory group representing single-family and multi-family residential, commercial, religious, environmental, commercial, fiscal, non-profit and institutional sectors. The advisory group met five times in 2022 to provide input to various aspects of the Stormwater Utility. View the meeting presentations and videos below.

Meeting Date Topic Meeting Materials
March 30, 2022   Overview and background 
May 3, 2022   Overview of program costs 
June 27, 2022   Review of rate structures 
August 31, 2022   Draft credit program 
October 12, 2022   Summary and wrap-up