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City Council expands the scope of stormwater fee uses

To go along with a recent increase in the stormwater utility fee, Alexandria’s City Council is broadening the scope of what that can be covered by that fee.

At a City Council meeting on Saturday, the Council voted unanimously in favor of expanding the uses of the fee to help combat some of the rampant flooding that’s plagued the city over the last few years.

The ordinance added “to mitigate surface and subsurface flooding from precipitation events” to the description of the fee. The new ordinance also adds specific examples to the types of stormwater infrastructure the project can fund, “including the enlargement or improvement of dams, levees, floodwalls, and pump stations.”

The fee is scheduled to increase from $140 this year to $210 starting in June, up to $280 by November.

The new language will also allow the city to use the funds for stormwater management contracts with private businesses.

“[Funding may be used for] contracts related to stormwater management, including contracts for the financing, construction, operation, or maintenance of stormwater management facilities,” the ordinance says, “regardless of whether such facilities are located on public or private property and, in the case of private property locations, whether the contract is entered into pursuant to a stormwater management private property program under Section 15.2-2114(J) of the Virginia Code or otherwise.”

The expansion comes along with plans to double the stormwater utility fee. That increased fee faced some pushback, including from Councilwoman Amy Jackson and retiring Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

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