Stormwater Utility Report

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We are happy to announce that the 2016 FSA Stormwater Utility Report is complete and has been distributed to 340 members and contributors. One copy of the Report was provided to all FSA members and also to those non-members that completed the Survey.  The survey instrument was mailed to 237 cities and counties in Florida.  One hundred and twenty-four completed surveys were collected.  The Report summarizes the results of the data collected through the survey process.  Stormwater managers, regulators and policy-makers throughout Florida have come to trust the Report and its data as being invaluable information for researching issues related to stormwater utilities and finance!  All FSA members and those non-members who completed the survey instrument receive a complimentary copy of the Report.  FSA members may order additional CD copies of the Report online for $25; the charge for non-members is $50.

Sponsorships - Thanks to the 2016 Survey Sponsors!

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About the Report

The Stormwater Utility Report presents the results of a biennial survey of stormwater utilities in Florida. Its purpose is to provide information to both managers and policymakers in state and local government. Trends in the characteristics of the stormwater programs, utility rates and other practices within local government can be observed by comparing FSA's survey results.

In 2016, Florida had 67 counties and over 410 cities. It is difficult to determine exactly how many stormwater utilities exist in the state but FSA’s best estimate is that there were approximately 165 local governments that established stormwater utilities pursuant to Chapter 403, Florida Statutes, or their own home rule powers. One hundred and twenty-four stormwater utilities responded to the 2016 survey questionnaire. We expect the number of stormwater utilities to continue to increase for several reasons:

  • The Florida Supreme Court has consistently upheld the validity of such fees;
  • There is (generally) more public support for funding programs with user fees as opposed to ad valorem or other general taxes; and,
  • The process of implementing the multi-billion dollar Total Maximum Daily Loads and Numeric Nutrient Criteria programs in Florida is now beginning to take full effect.
Also, to the extent that recently adopted measures reduce the amount of property tax revenues available in the city or county general fund, local governments will be more inclined to consider stormwater user fees or increases therein as a way to fund water quality programs.  As one might expect, service areas dedicated exclusively to the city constituted a significant majority of stormwater utilities in part reflecting the relative ease of attaching a user charge onto an existing billing mechanism. Most stormwater utilities are located within a department of public works and have used impervious area as the basis for calculating the fee.

As in earlier surveys, revenue generated from stormwater utilities represents a significant source of funds to address stormwater pollution and flooding problems but it still falls short of being able to address long-term, capital needs. Most jurisdictions report that utility charges are adequate to meet most administrative costs but not for needs associated with capital improvement programs. Whether stormwater utility fees can be raised at a rate to keep pace with the costs of TMDLs remains to be seen.