Why is it important to manage stormwater?
Every time it rains, water runs off the land as stormwater. Other forms of precipitation, such as melted snow and ice also are stormwater. In urban environments, hard surfaces prevent water from soaking into the ground. This stormwater will "run off" into the City's conveyance system (storm drains, ditches, etc.) discharging directly into streams, creeks and the Mississippi River. Stormwater runoff also picks up pollutants, trash and debris along the way, which can create health and safety issues for residents and wildlife.
Hannibal needs adequate stormwater management to protect homes and businesses, as well as the environment. Gone unchecked, stormwater could cause flooding, erosion and pollution.
What is a stormwater utility fee?
Like other utilities such as electric, water, and sanitary sewer, a stormwater utility collects fees based on the amount of runoff your property contributes to the stormwater conveyance system. A stormwater utility is responsible for installing and maintaining stormwater infrastructure as well as review and planning to meet the City’s stormwater goals.
Many communities in the United States have opted for a Stormwater Utility Fee to fund their stormwater programs. Local communities in Missouri with stormwater utility fees include Arnold, Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District.
Are storm sewers and sanitary sewers the same thing?
Storm sewers and sanitary sewer mains are not the same thing. Sanitary sewers carry waste that is treated before it re-enters the environment whereas stormwater runoff is not treated and drains directly into the local creeks and streams.
Are we being charged for stormwater (rain)?
No, residents are not being charged for rain. Although the stormwater program is in place to manage the effects of stormwater runoff, the fee is no way related to the amount of rain that falls.
The fee is determined based on the amount of impervious area a property has that contributes to the stormwater system. Impervious surfaces do not allow rain to infiltrate into the ground at the same rate natural surfaces like grass and wooded areas do. Examples of impervious areas include building footprints, sheds, patios, decks, porches, driveways, loading docks, parking lots, sidewalks, and compacted clay and gravel used for driveways and parking lots, and other similar non-porous areas. The use of impervious area is the industry standard method to developing stormwater fees.
Why does the City want to impose a stormwater fee now?
Many of the storm sewer systems throughout the City are inadequately sized or constructed, and have been failing at increasing rates, as the infrastructure ages. The City has identified the need for a comprehensive stormwater initiative to address these issues and improve stormwater control. As such, on June 6, 2017 the Hannibal City Council adopted Resolution No. 2092-17 authorizing and directing HBPW to establish a stormwater utility and comprehensive stormwater repair program.
A service fee for stormwater funding has several significant advantages over other funding options. It is flexible, offers the prospect of stable funding over time, allows restrictive dedication of the revenues to stormwater management only, and enables an equitable distribution of costs based on demands placed on the drainage system.
Who will have to pay the fee?
All property parcels within Hannibal City limits will pay the stormwater utility fee.
How is a stormwater utility fee different from a tax?
The Stormwater Utility Fee is not a tax. All properties, including tax-exempt properties must pay the fee based on the amount of impervious area. The amount of revenue collected must be related to the cost of services it funds, in this case, funds must be used for stormwater management. Revenue from property taxes, for example, is tied to the assessed value of the property and funds general government services.
Why are tax exempt properties not exempt from the stormwater fee?
Tax exempt properties impact stormwater utility systems just like commercial and industrial sites. Impervious surfaces on the parcels of tax exempt properties place a demand on the stormwater system just the same as taxable properties. Stormwater runoff generated by any property must be controlled and conveyed once it leaves the property so that it does not create problems for the community.
How will revenue from stormwater fees be used?
Revenue from stormwater fees will be used solely for stormwater management in the City of Hannibal. This includes: replacing aging infrastructure, maintaining existing systems, and complying with state and federal regulation.
Why do I have to pay when I do not have any drainage problems?
All properties in the City contribute stormwater to the system, so all properties should contribute to the cost of maintaining the system. Although you may not have issues directly on your property, the runoff from your property may cause issues downstream.
A portion of the utility’s revenue will be use to maintain and make water quality improvements throughout the entire existing system.
Who should I contact if I have more questions?
If you still have questions you would like answered, please call our offices at 573-221-8050, or email the Stormwater Department.