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The Stormwater utility is a user fee, much like the fee that you pay for your water utility or gas service. Users of these services are charged based on the demand they place on the system. The Stormwater that flows off your property places demand on a vast system of infrastructure which is costly to operate and maintain. Stormwater must be channeled through a system of pipes and other conveyances before it can be safely discharged into local rivers, lakes and streams.
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To fund the efforts that keep the Stormwater system fully operational, a Stormwater utility fee is collected from City of Lawrenceville property owners. This fee is used to replace old pipes, reduce pollution, monitor water quality, and maintain the Stormwater infrastructure. Much strategic planning and prioritization goes into decisions to allocate the funds received by the Stormwater utility. The funds exclusively support the continual upkeep of the system to protect and preserve our community.
Fees are assessed according to the impervious surface area or Stormwater “footprint” of each parcel, rather than property value. Each parcel will be billed for each equivalent resident unit (“ERU”). Equivalent residential unit means 3,000 square feet of impervious surface. Each ERU is billed at a rate of $5.00 per month. Residentially zoned property, excluding multi-family housing, is billed one (1) ERU (ex. $5.00 per month). For non-residentially zoned property, including multi-family housing, the number of ERUs to be billed is calculated by taking the square footage of the property and multiplying the square footage by Seventy-five percent (75%) and then dividing by 3,000 (ex. 5 acre parcel – 43,560 x 5 = 217,800; 217,800 x 75% = 163,350; 163,350 / 3000 = 54.45 ERUs; 54.45 x $5.00 = $272.25 per month).
Stormwater is any water that originates from precipitation, like rain or snowmelt. Stormwater can soak into soil or evaporate, but in urban areas, most Stormwater turns into runoff because of the large amounts of impervious surface, which water is unable to soak into. Federal laws regulating Stormwater runoff require Lawrenceville to reevaluate the way it manages the water that runs off impervious surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, or rooftops. Stormwater runoff creates flooding issues and carries pollutants directly to our streams and rivers, contaminating our local waterways.
The Lawrenceville Mayor and Council voted to create a Stormwater utility fee. The utility fee raises the revenues needed to fund Lawrenceville's Stormwater Management Program. This program brings us into compliance with federal regulations and safeguards our community through improved drainage and protection of local waterways. The Stormwater utility fee charges properties in Lawrenceville based on that property's contribution to the need for Stormwater management. The utility uses the amount of impervious surface, or surface that water is unable to soak into, on a property as the primary basis for the fee. This user-fee system represents a way to raise revenue for the program by charging those who directly contribute to its need. This method presents our community with an alternative to an across-the-board tax increase.
The Stormwater utility fee pays for the operations and maintenance costs of the Stormwater management program. Some of the services tied to the Stormwater program include:
All property owners in Lawrenceville pay the Stormwater utility fee. This includes residential homeowners, churches, nonprofit organizations, Georgia Gwinnett College (schools) and commercial property owners. Undeveloped land does not have any impervious surfaces, so it is not charged a Stormwater fee.
The Stormwater utility bill is structured to be paid by the property owner, who might not be the same person who receives the water bill. Property owners make decisions about how the Stormwater from their property is managed. Typically, the occupant receives the monthly water bill but it would be inappropriate for a tenant to receive the Stormwater utility fee as well.
On the date of a closure, the closing attorney generates a Property Transfer form (PT-61) that is filed with the deed for the change of ownership. The closing attorney has 90 days to file this paperwork. The state receives the paperwork and sends it out to the Stormwater utility, the Tax Assessor, and any other parties who subscribe to the forms. Once the Stormwater utility receives notification of the transfer, Billing Staff will close the account under the old owner's name and begin an account in the new owner's name. A prorated final bill (based on the closing date) will be mailed to the previous owner, and a prorated first bill will be mailed to the new owner with the next billing cycle.
There are approximately 1,500 municipalities across the country that have developed utilities to fund their Stormwater management programs. Including Lawrenceville, more than 60 communities in Georgia have user fees that fund Stormwater services. These communities include Gwinnett County, the City of Covington, the City of Decatur, DeKalb County, Athens-Clarke County, the City of Norcross, Barrow County, the City of Roswell, the City of Duluth, and the City of Smyrna.
Yes. It is difficult for water to soak into a packed gravel surface. Once gravel is compacted, from cars or heavy equipment, for example, surface water runs off of it much like a paved surface. The gravel may slow the flow of water from the area, but will only reduce the amount of runoff minimally, if at all. Many flat roofs are covered with gravel, but they still shed the rainwater that falls on them. In addition, if cars or heavy equipment are traveling on these gravel surfaces; runoff typically carries pollutants like metals or petroleum into our waterways.
Stormwater utility bills are based on the amount of impervious surface present on the property. If you believe the area of impervious surface has been calculated incorrectly, please contact the Stormwater Management Program at 678-407-6675 or email [email protected].
Stormwater credits are given to properties with installed and properly maintained Stormwater systems that meet the requirements of the Lawrenceville Stormwater management ordinance and the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual. Stormwater ponds, wetlands, infiltration trenches, and other management systems reduce the velocity or rate of the runoff or clean up the pollutants found in Stormwater. When properly maintained and installed, these systems can qualify for a reduction in fee for the property they serve.
On the Stormwater utility web site there is a form for reporting problems. Complete the form and email it to [email protected] or call 678.407.6675 to report the problem. Be sure to give address and contact information. A work order will be created and someone from the Stormwater utility will contact you to assess the issues and advise you of any options available to you.
Please call the Stormwater at 678-407-6675 or email [email protected] to report illegal dumping or water quality concerns. We will investigate the issue and take the appropriate actions to remediate it.
Please call the Stormwater at 678-407-6675 or email [email protected] to report an issue with storm drains. We will investigate the issue and take the appropriate actions to remediate it.