Municipal Drainage Utility Fee FAQ's
Since the creation of the City’s Municipal Drainage Utility in 1992, a drainage utility fee of $1/month has been charged to all active utility accounts. On January 21, 2019, to ensure the drainage fee is fair and equitable to all utility customers (single family residential and non-single family residential), the City of Fredericksburg City Council approved a revised fee structure for the Municipal Drainage Utility Fee. The following information is being provided to answer the most common questions associated with the new Municipal Drainage Utility Fee Structure and implementation of the new Stormwater/Vegetation Management Program.
What is a Drainage Utility?
A drainage utility operates in a similar manner to electric, solid waste, water or wastewater utilities. Users pay for the services provided, which in this case includes effective flood control, erosion protection, and vegetation management. A utility fee is charged to all customers within the City based on their impact to public storm water facilities.
How is the Drainage Utility fee determined?
Fees are assigned to property parcels based on stormwater runoff characteristics and impacts to the public stormwater system, not property values. The monthly fee is based on the amount of impervious surface area on each developed land parcel in the City. Impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways and parking areas impede natural infiltration, and increase the rate and volume of stormwater runoff that must be collected and carried by the City’s drainage system. The impervious area for each developed property parcel is based on information obtained from the Gillespie County Appraisal District. For single family residential properties, the main building area is utilized to calculate the fee while the total improved area (impervious cover) is used to determine fees for non-single family residential properties.
When do the revised fees go into effect?
The revised fee structure becomes effective on March 1, 2019 and will be reflected on the utility bills that go out in late March or early April.
What is the revised fee structure?
Based on evaluation of impervious area (IA), a six-tiered rate structure was developed for single-family residential properties.
|Residential Tier||Main Building Area (sq. ft.)||Monthly Fee|
|2||>1,000 but ≤1,300||$4.00|
|3||>1,300 but ≤1,600||$5.00|
|4||>1,600 but ≤2,000||$6.00|
|5||>2,000 but ≤3,000||$7.00|
A six-tiered rate structure was developed for non-single family residential properties.
|Non-Residential Tier||Total Impervious Area (sq. ft.)||Monthly Fee|
|2||>1,800 but ≤2,800||$5.00|
|3||>2,800 but ≤5,500||$9.00|
|4||>5,500 but ≤12,000||$18.00|
|5||>12,000 but ≤50,000||$50.00|
How will the fee be collected?
The fee will be included on the City’s monthly utility billing statement along with any other applicable water, wastewater, and electric and/or solid waste collection fees.
Are any properties exempt?
State law exempts the following properties from Drainage Utility fees:
- State of Texas
- Institutions of higher learning
- Undeveloped property
- Properties with private drainage system (zero discharge to a waterway, roadway, or other public drainage infrastructure)
Additionally, school district properties, tax-exempt religious organizations, and cemeteries that are closed to new interments are also exempt from paying the drainage utility fee. City and County-owned properties are not exempt.
What will customers receive for their monthly fee?
Revenue from the new fee structure will be used to implement and fund a portion of a new Stormwater/Vegetation Management Program that will provide:
- Improved maintenance of City-maintained areas
- Gutter, inlet, and creek debris cleanouts
- Infrastructure improvements to minimize flooding
- Increased street sweeping
- Other drainage and water quality oriented services
Additionally, revenue from this new fee will enable the City to fund some of the $37M in drainage management construction projects that were identified in the 2016 Drainage Master Plan.
When will the Stormwater/Vegetation Management Program begin?
The implementation process is currently underway and work by Stormwater/Vegetation Management crews is estimated to begin in June 2019. If you have a drainage issue you would like reviewed, please complete a request in the City’s Request Tracker.
Is it possible to reduce my fees?
To allow developed properties with on-site drainage systems to reduce their fees and encourage low impact development, the revised fee structure includes possible credits for non-single family residential properties, in accordance with the following table:
|Credit Type||Maximum Allowable Drainage Utility Fee Credit||Examples|
1. Vegetated Detention Facility
15% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
On-site detention facilities which are designed and constructed to be vegetated which aids in preventing trash, debris, and pollutants from entering the downstream stormwater infrastructure.
2. Permanent Structural Detention Facility
10% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
Detention facilities designed and constructed with concrete walls and/or bottoms.
3. Detention or Retention Pond Amenity
20% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
Detention or retention facilities design in a manner that promotes use of adjacent spaces as open space.
4. Riparian Zone Preservation
10% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
Development designed in such a way to enhance creek/drainage way health by removing invasive species and promoting a buffer zone of diverse, native plants to minimize erosion.
5. Permanent Best Management Practices (“BMP”)
25% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
Enhanced drainage swales, sand filtration, inlet trash collection, wet ponds, and stormwater wetlands.
6. Zero Discharge Credit
100% of total assessed drainage utility fee for subject property
Permanent structural controls which are designed to infiltrate, evapotranspirate, or re-use stormwater so that it will not be discharged from the property.
To apply for a fee credit, please complete the Municipal Drainage Utility Fee Credit Form.
What do I do if I feel my fee is not calculated correctly?
If you believe that your fee is in error, there is an appeals process whereby the customer can bring forward information on impervious area, land use, or private drainage system for City consideration of a fee correction. To do so, please review and complete the Municipal Drainage Utility Appeals Form.