Ne­wark con­tin­ues to plan for monthly stormwa­ter fee

City to pay con­sul­tant $213,000 to de­velop billing pro­ce­dure

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­

If the city is go­ing to start charg­ing prop­erty own­ers a pro­posed monthly fee next year to help cover stormwa­ter man­age­ment costs, of­fi­cials say they are go­ing to need some help get­ting the util­ity up and run­ning.

On Mon­day, coun­cil unan­i­mously voted to hire Black and Veatch Man­age­ment Con­sult­ing, LLC, to as­sist city staff in com­ing up with a fee struc­ture, credit pro­gram, ap­peals process and or­di­nance for coun­cil re­view. If ap­proved, im­ple­men­ta­tion of a stormwa­ter fee would be­gin in 2018.

Coun­cil mem­bers Stu Markham and Jen Wal­lace were ab­sent from Mon­day’s meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Works Direc­tor Tom Cole­man, the work done by Black and Veatch will cost the city $213,380, which is avail­able in the 2017 sewer fund cap­i­tal im­prove­ment bud­get. He said part of the money is for post-im­ple­men­ta­tion sup­port, in­clud­ing on­call as­sis­tance to aid city staff with re­view­ing credit and ap­peals ap­pli­ca­tions and pro­vid­ing par­cel data process, as well as par­cel ID-ac­count map­ping sup­port.

Cole­man rec­om­mended Black and Veatch be­cause Ne­wark hired the firm last year to study the city’s wa­ter­re­lated rates, in­clud­ing drink­ing wa­ter, san­i­tary sewer and stormwa­ter. It was also tasked with an­a­lyz­ing a po­ten­tial stormwa­ter fee, which the city has been con­sid­er­ing for a few years as a way to re­solve flood­ing is­sues around the city. That work, com­pleted last year, cost the city ap­prox­i­mately $100,000.

Af­ter months of re­search, Black and Veatch rec­om­mended Ne­wark im­ple­ment a fee based on im­per­vi­ous sur­face and es­ti­mated it will cost res­i­dents any­where from $1.83 to $5.49 each month. The fee will raise $1.4 mil­lion a year if im­ple­mented in 2018.

The rate for con­do­mini­ums and non-res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties would be in­di­vid­u­ally cal­cu­lated based on av­er­age runoff fac­tor for that type of par­cel, whether it’s a park­ing lot, com­mer­cial build­ing, in­dus­trial site, a park or a ceme­tery.

No par­cel in Ne­wark would be ex­empt from this charge, in­clud­ing those owned by the Univer­sity of Delaware. The only ex­cep­tions are pub­lic streets, me­di­ans, pub­lic rightof-ways and rail­road tracks.

Cole­man said Black and Veatch will help the city cre­ate a data­base of im­per­vi­ous sur­face in the city and fi­nal­ize a rate struc­ture. In ad­di­tion, the firm will de­velop the billing sys­tem and a credit pro­gram to re­duce the fee for res­i­dents, busi­nesses and de­vel­op­ers who in­stall rain gar­dens, green roofs and other mea­sures to curb runoff. There will also be an ap­peals process in place for prop­erty own­ers who be­lieve they were charged un­fairly.

“There’s a lot of work left,” Cole­man said.

Cole­man also an­tic­i­pates it will cost ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 for the city’s billing soft­ware ven­dor Har­ris North­star to mod­ify the billing sys­tem so the city can start col­lect­ing the new stormwa­ter fee. That money, how­ever, is not in­cluded in the cost to hire Black and Veatch.


Main Street floods af­ter heavy thun­der­storms moved through Ne­wark on June 5. The city is plan­ning to charge res­i­dents a stormwa­ter fee to raise money to fix the ag­ing storm sew­ers.

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