In keeping with a promise it made to residents in early March, the Adams County Board of Commissioners, by resolution, formalized the creation of a community task force to seek the public’s input on the structure of the county’s stormwater utility program. In a separate resolution, the board moved forward with imposing a fee cap on all unincorporated properties through 2013 so the newly formed task force has adequate time to review the current stormwater utility structure and offer recommendations on program improvements to the Board of Commissioners.
The county’s stormwater utility program provides needed funding for specific public services such as drainage system improvements, erosion control measures and water pollution mitigation to specific unincorporated areas of Adams County. While a large percentage of incorporated residents in Adams County already pay a stormwater utility fee to their respective municipalities to help cover their jurisdictions specific stormwater management services, until this year unincorporated residents have not been required to pay a similar fee. To help provide some equity to the county’s allocation of resources, the Board of Commissioners adopted the new stormwater utility fee in September 2012.
“As a government, it is our responsibility to meet the needs of our community and to find equitable ways to pay for these public services and improvements,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Eva J. Henry. “With today’s creation of the Stormwater Management Task Force, we have invited citizens to help identify areas of improvement with the current program and offer recommendations as we move forward.”
According to the resolution approved at today’s public hearing, the Stormwater Management Task Force will consist of between 16 and 24 citizens depending upon interest. To ensure equitable citizen input, the board has requested representation from eight different geographic areas within the unincorporated area of the county (see attached map); one citizen from each of the incorporated areas of the county; and up to seven participants from the county’s various property classifications (residential, commercial, industrial, exempt, agricultural, state assessed, and mine).
Citizens interested in serving on the Stormwater Management Task Force are encouraged to apply by submitting a letter of interest to the Adams County Board of Commissioners (SWQ@adcogov.org or Attn: Stormwater Quality, 4430 S. Adams County Parkway, Brighton, CO 80601) by April 19, 2013. The task force will commence meeting no later than May 20, 2013, and make recommendations to the board no later than October 1, 2013.
In the interim, the commissioners have agreed to amend the stormwater utility fee structure for the 2013 fiscal year in order to give the new task force sufficient time to organize and submit their recommendations. Prior to today’s announcement, all county property owners in unincorporated Adams County were assessed a fee based upon the amount of impervious surface on their individual parcels. Effective today, all fees have been capped based on the average utility fee cost based upon each individual property classification. The maximum yearly fee is now $83 for residential properties; $746 for commercial properties; $446 for exempt properties; $886 for industrial properties; $131 for agriculture properties; $886 for state-assessed properties; and $68 for mine properties. With fee caps in place, Adams County expects to collect just over $2.2 million in annual revenue to offset a portion of the $376 million in identified stormwater infrastructure projects.
All property owners in unincorporated Adams County will be mailed a revised statement by the end of April along with a letter explaining the adjustment. Fee adjustments will be reflected in escrow account statements for those properties with mortgages; property owners who have already paid a fee on their own will receive a refund check.
“The 2013 fee cap will lessen the impact of the stormwater utility fee until we have time to fully evaluate the program,” said Board Chair Henry. “By capping the fee and inviting the public to participate in the evaluation process, we are confident we can arrive at a fair and equitable solution to managing our stormwater infrastructure while ensuring we are able to continue to provide the necessary services our residents want.”
For more information on Adam County’s stormwater utility program, visit www.adcogov.org/stormwater.