The City is considering a stormwater fee, rather than raise property taxes or cut services, in order to ensure East Liverpool’s stormwater programs are funded in a manner that is fair, understandable, implementable, and sustainable. The funds will help to address and enforce the unfunded mandate from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s NPDES Phase II stormwater regulations, which are part of the Federal Clean Water Act passed by the US Congress in 1972.
Historically, the allocation of funds has not been sufficient to address all of the City’s stormwater service needs. The administration and City Council, along with the support of engineering and stormwater professionals, have carefully studied how to generate the revenue necessary to allow the City to address these concerns. There is no relationship between property value and runoff, so property taxes are not the most equitable way to pay for stormwater services. For example, a high- rise building and a shopping mall may have similar value and pay similar property taxes. However, the shopping center produces more runoff because of the amount of parking and rooftops. After careful consideration, it was determined that the most equitable method of generating revenue was a stormwater utility. The stormwater that leaves a property as runoff ultimately drains into a City maintained drainage facility. A fee is assessed because this runoff contributes to the need for operation, maintenance, and capital improvements of the stormwater management system to prevent and correct stormwater runoff problems.