BR residents to see stormwater user fee on tax bill in 2023
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Next year East Baton Rouge residents could see a stormwater user charge on their tax bill.
“When it rains, it rains on everybody and when water runs off, it runs into our system and that means everybody has to have a fair share,” Kelvin Hill, Chief Public Works Officer for East Baton Rouge Parish said.
The money collected will be used for operating reserves, overall maintenance, and capital investments.
“Like everything we do, Metro-Council will receive reports about what we do and monitor how the funds are spent,” Hill explains.
Officials say the city-parish has allocated more than 50 million dollars in recent federal funding to support drainage improvements but that was just a one-time fund.
The proposed utility fee will reportedly fund long term maintenance strategies.
“The strategy was to use ARP funds for a couple of years while we set up this stormwater utility and fully fund maintenance. that is something people have been asking for,” Chief Communications Officer, Mark Armstrong, said.
Property owners will pay the fee based on how their property impacts stormwater conditions, according to officials.
“It will only be used for stormwater maintenance and compliance,” Environmental Director Richard Speer added.
The fee will reportedly be based on a billing unit calculated by your square footage.
Officials say the monthly rate is expected to be $1.36 per billing unit.
“There is no one and done. It is ongoing work, ongoing effort. We have to stay in compliance with MS4 to keep water as clean as we can and keep the trash out,” Hill explained.
According to officials, the first storm water user fee will appear on the 2023 tax bill and then each year around the same time.
The proposal for this fee will reportedly be introduced in a public hearing at Metro Council’s meeting next Wednesday, with a public hearing scheduled two weeks later.
“The most cost-effective way is to utilize the tax accessor process with the tax bill,” Hill added.
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