Mayor Comments on Stormwater Utility Fee

Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement following a Richmond City Council meeting where several citizen comments were received in opposition to the stormwater utility fee being charged to churches:

"While we all want a cleaner waterfront and to improve our water quality, I fully understand the concerns being expressed by this group of impacted citizens. The federally and state mandated requirements for stormwater are essentially unfunded mandates that localities have to contend with. Meeting the regulatory requirements and mandates was thoroughly discussed before Richmond City Council voted to enact this fee. Also, on average, most churches are paying about $435 per parcel."

"Non-compliance is not an option as many jurisdictions have already been cited and fined for not taking proper care of their infrastructure. We also should not attempt to meet the mandates on the backs of the single family residential tax payer. If we used the real estate tax system to raise funds needed to address the deficiencies of the stormwater system, the real estate tax rate would have to increase significantly. Among the effects would be that single family residents, on average, would see their contributions related to stormwater double. The stormwater utility fee was viewed as the most equitable way to respond to the mandate, and it still appears that is the case. Nevertheless, I remain open to hearing concerns."