Background on Stormwater Fee
The City of Corpus Christi began funding stormwater via the water rate in 1989. The EPA issued the first National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit to the city in 1995. A separate fund to support stormwater was established in 2008. Today, the Stormwater fee is paid for out of customer’s water charges. To create a more equitable rate and follow best practices, the city is exploring the option to develop a new stormwater fee structure.
Objectives of a New Stormwater Fee Structure
- Remove stormwater from the water rate
- Create a fair and equitable fee structure for stormwater, reflecting drainage or runoff
- Create a stable revenue stream
- Involve stakeholders to build understanding and acceptance
Workgroup Members & Organization*
A group of community members was brought together to provide feedback on the development of a new stormwater fee structure. The City of Corpus Christi is grateful to all of these individuals and their organizations for volunteering their time and sharing their valuable input.
- Alex Young, HEB
- Brenton Bausch, STX Beef LLC
- Chip Urban, Urban Engineering
- Curtis Clark, IBC Bank
- David Loeb, Landlord Resources
- Eloy Salazar, Salazar Investments
- Eric Villarreal, LNV, Inc.
- Ernest Garza, Ernest R. Garza & Company P.C.
- Fady Shaheen, APEX Homes
- JJ Hart, Entrepreneur
- John Dibala, Corpus Christi Independent School District
- Leah Olivarri, Olivarri and Associates
- Margaret Dechant, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
- Orlando Zepeda, Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi
- Oscar Martinez, ARG Holdings
- Randy Curtis, Calallen Independent School District
- Reagan Brown, Peterson Development Company
- Robert Swize, Gulf Compress- Storage and Distribution Solutions
- Roshna Bakhta, Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association
- Trey Summers, Hogan Homes
- Wendy Herman, Coastal Bend Home Builders Association
- William Goldston, American Council of Engineering Companies
*Names are in alphabetical order by first name
FAQs on the Stormwater Fee Creation
- What is stormwater?
Stormwater, or stormwater runoff, is rainwater that does not soak into the ground. It flows over roofs, pavement, bare soil and lawns into storm drains or bodies of water. A stormwater system manages the flow of stormwater.
- Why is stormwater quality important?
Stormwater picks up pollutants as it makes its way to our bays. It picks up soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, litter and other pollutants. Poor stormwater quality can lead to pollution, environmental and health issues if not properly maintained.
- What are the components of a stormwater system?
A stormwater system is a system of natural and built infrastructure that can include concrete and natural channels, ditches, bays and estuaries, stormwater mains, pipes, pump stations, streets, inlets and inlet baskets. The system is designed to carry rainwater flow to a water body.
- What are the activities involved in maintaining a stormwater system?
- Maintenance of channels, ditches, mains, inlets and pump stations maintenance
- Management of vegetation to ensure its growth does not impair stormwater flow
- Flood control and flood warning system
- Inlet basket cleaning
- Street sweeping
- Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit compliance
- Water quality monitoring
- Infrastructure repair and replacement, including inspections and asset management
- Is the City’s stormwater system adequate for managing its stormwater?
The City’s current stormwater program does not adequately meet the needs of our growing area. Staff are currently examining where investments should be made for the safety of our residents, the health of our environment and the beautification of our City. After reviewing what other cities in Texas and across the nation are doing, and comparing that with Corpus Christi’s current system, several program enhancements have been identified to bring the system up to par. They include:
- Floatable debris removal
- More frequent street sweeping
- Monitoring pipe outfall water quality
- Public education and outreach
- Flood control
- Capital improvements
- When will these enhancements be made?
These enhancements will be prioritized and made over time. City staff will present to City Council a plan and schedule for incorporating these enhancements into the budget and the fee for stormwater service.
How Stormwater is Funded
- How much does stormwater management cost the City?
Stormwater management currently costs the City $31 million per year.
- Who pays for stormwater management?
Residents and businesses living and operating in the City pay for stormwater management on their water bill. Stormwater management is not covered by taxes.
- How does the City currently calculate what each resident and business pay for stormwater services?
The costs of stormwater services are included with the costs of water service.
The basic calculation is:
Water and stormwater costs to City ÷ Water volume used by customer (in thousand gallons used) = cost per thousand gallons to customer.
- Why does the City of Corpus Christi need a new stormwater fee?
The current way of collecting fees for stormwater means those who use the most water pay the most for stormwater, but water use is not a primary driver of stormwater system use. We need to separate out stormwater costs from the water rate and assess it based on how the property uses the stormwater system to make the fee fairer and more equitable. This will also ensure a more stable revenue for stormwater that’s not vulnerable to changes in water consumption. A workgroup of community leaders is involved in the process providing input on the new fee structure.
- How much am I currently paying for stormwater?
The city collects revenue to support stormwater costs for consumption above the 2,000-gallon minimum, or about $3.56 per 1,000 gallons.
- Will my utility bill change in 2020?
No water bills will increase in 2020. The earliest a resident or business could see a change to their water bill will be in 2021. The new stormwater fee will go into effect in 2021 and, possibly, drinking water rates may also be updated in 2021 as well.