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Request for Public Input: Fee Adjustment Options to Repair & Replace Aging Stormwater Infrastructure

Post Date:05/30/2019

To continue investing in the repair and replacement of Hillsboro’s 100-year old Stormwater System, the City is considering increasing the Local Service Fee, currently set at a monthly $1 per Equivalent Service Unit (ESU). 

Stormwater System and Sanitary Sewer SystemThe public Stormwater System – a key part of the City’s Surface Water Management Program – is responsible for collecting, moving, and treating stormwater runoff to remove pollutants before it is released into local waterways.

On average, the City of Hillsboro receives more than 30 inches of rain and three inches of snow each year. That rain and snowmelt either soaks into the ground, or washes over impervious surfaces (streets, roofs, lawns, and parking lots), and picks up oil, sediment, bacteria, grease, and chemicals that can pollute local waterways and the Tualatin River. As a result, stormwater runoff is a major contributor to water pollution. 

The public Stormwater System not only collects and conveys stormwater runoff and filters out pollutants, it helps prevent flooding and increases the health of local waterways, including the Tualatin River, Beaverton, Bronson, Butternut, Dawson, Glencoe, Gordon, Gulch, McKay, Reedville, Rock, and Turner creeks, as well as area wetlands. 

System

Stormwater runoff enters the system through numerous catch basins, ditches, and private laterals. It then moves through a vast network of underground storm pipes, manholes, and open channels, to water quality facilities. 

Water quality facilities treat stormwater runoff to remove pollutants and provide temporary storage. Outfalls represent the end of the system, and release stormwater into local waterways. 

Funding

A fixed charge and a Local Service Fee, both of which are included on customers’ monthly City utility bill, fund surface water management services provided to the Hillsboro community.

  • The fixed charge is set by Clean Water Services and funds the day-to-day maintenance and operation of Hillsboro’s Stormwater System.
  • The LSF is set by the City, supplements the fixed charge, and is invested only in the repair and replacement of aging stormwater infrastructure (or the deferred maintenance backlog).

Hillsboro City Council established the SWM LSF in 2015 at a monthly $1 per ESU. An ESU is the size of the impervious surface area on a property. One ESU equals 2,640 square feet of impervious surface. Most single-family residential customers are billed a flat LSF rate of $1 per month. 

Projects

Since 2015, LSF revenue has funded eight priority Stormwater System repair and replacement projects, and is also providing funds for an additional 10 projects, which are presently in design or construction. Project fact sheets are available online.

Proposed Adjustment Options

This year, the City completed a five-year evaluation on the effectiveness of the current monthly rate in addressing the Stormwater System’s $130 million deferred maintenance backlog.

As a result, the City is now modeling new LSF rate adjustment options that will further help reduce the system’s backlog and ensure it continues to work effectively. Options include increasing the monthly $1 LSF rate (per ESU) to $3 for five years, $3 for 10 years, $5 for 10 years, $7 for 10 years, or implementing an annual incremental adjustment. 

Public Input and Open House

Community members are invited to provide input regarding the new LSF rate funding scenarios until July 31. Comments can be submitted in several ways:

Comments will also be taken at an open house event from 5 - 7 pm on Thursday, June 13, in room 113 at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 East Main Street.

Next Steps

At a work session at 8 pm on Tuesday, August 20, City staff will present the proposed LSF funding scenarios and share the results of the public input with City Council. Councilors will discuss the scenarios and determine next steps. Members of the public are invited to attend and observe, but public comment will not be offered during the work session.

For additional information about the Local Service Fee, call 503-615-6509 or visit Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/LocalServiceFee.

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