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Similar to owning a home or vehicle, it takes effort and financial resources to properly operate and maintain a stormwater system. Costs include general operation and maintenance, replacement of failing or undersized infrastructure, and complying with state and federal regulations. All of these costs increase over time as a community grows and infrastructure ages.

A dedicated source of revenue is critical to cover such costs. Commonly, communities form a stormwater utility and implement service charges, a funding source that is stable and dedicated to stormwater system management. Approximately 40 Oregon communities have stormwater utilities with separate charges for stormwater service, ranging from small communities like Adair Village and Sweet Home to large communities like Portland and Salem. Much like water and sewer utilities, users of the system pay a service charge for stormwater service. Service charges are collected through utility bills, based on a rate structure adopted by each community. Stormwater service charges for a typical home range from $1.00 per month in Sweet Home to $27.44 per month in Portland. Other examples of monthly stormwater charges for a typical home in surrounding communities include: $3.28, Lebanon; $6.90, Corvallis; and $14.09, Springfield.

Prior to this effort, Albany most recently considered forming a stormwater utility with a separate service charge in 2001. Despite a growing demand for financial resources to address stormwater system management, the City decided to defer further consideration of a stormwater utility at that time. As a result, funds from the sanitary sewer and street systems were redirected to provide limited stormwater system maintenance, and the system needs have increased over time. Now, 15 years later, Albany cannot meet the regulatory requirements and general maintenance needs of the stormwater system without further reducing the level of service in the street and sewer systems. After reviewing stormwater program requirements throughout 2015 and 2016, and considering available funding options, the City Council determined that a stormwater utility was the most dependable and equitable approach for financing stormwater management in Albany.

Learn more about the stormwater utility and service charges in Albany, visit Stormwater Fee Structure Evaluation.