County Hikes 2019 Stormwater Fee
By Bob Sanchez
After a public hearing on September 5 in Tampa, County Commissioners voted unanimously to increase the Stormwater Utility Assessment (Stormwater Fee) for unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County, including Sun City Center.
Most Sun City Center residents will see a rise from $42 to $76.36 per household for single-family medium homes covering 1,501 – 3,200 square feet of impervious surface, including the roof and driveway. The proposed annual fee had been $92.41, which the commissioners reduced. The next range is 3201-5700 square feet, with an approved assessment of $116.83. The amount will appear as a line item in residents’ Calendar Year 2019 property tax bills and will remain at that rate until Commissioners vote to change it.
The fee pays for increased maintenance activities such as mowing, ditch and pipe cleaning, culvert repair, and street sweeping to improve conveyance and reduce roadway flooding. Additionally, this funding will be used to accelerate replacement of failing pipes and other infrastructure, along with flood reduction projects.
In August, County officials had held six open houses explaining the proposed increase to interested citizens. At the Southshore Regional Service Center in Ruskin, for example, engineers used charts on easels showing locations of stormwater projects and potential problem areas.
“We prioritize our pipe replacements based on failed or near failure pipe conditions and age,” said Sharbel Riveron, Hillsborough County’s Capital Program Project Manager. None of the projects in Sun City Center are designated as urgent.
Riveron explained in an email that “Not adequately funding the long-term maintenance and operation of stormwater systems leads to more expensive emergency repairs and flooding remediation that could have been avoided. Without a sustainable level of funding, the County will continue to spend more to fix unexpected collapses instead of wisely investing in preventative maintenance and improvements to avoid stormwater system failures.”
The approved assessment is expected to yield about $31 million, compared to the $38 million anticipated from the original proposal.
The accompanying graphic is an example that identifies some projects in Sun City Center. To see the County’s project map, visit this shortened link: https://bit.ly/1SgzzOr and focus on Sun City Center. Click on a specific project for additional detail.
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