Stormwater Utility Enterprise Fund
What is a Stormwater Utility Enterprise Fund?
The Town of Lexington is considering adoption of a stormwater utility fee to distribute costs of managing stormwater runoff more equitably.
Similar to water and sewer utilities, which allocate costs based on the amount of use, a stormwater fee is determined based on the amount of hardened or impervious surface on a given parcel (such as parking lots, driveways, and buildings). Parcels with more impervious surface are subject to a higher fee.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) oversees a comprehensive stormwater management program that seeks to meet multiple goals, including maintaining and improving the Town’s drainage system to protect public health and private property while also improving water quality.
The Town convened an inter-departmental working group in 2017 to look at long-term funding strategies that would provide sufficient, reliable revenue for increasingly complex stormwater management obligations. The Town, with our consultants, concluded in the July 2018 Stormwater Enterprise Fund Feasibility Report (view the Executive Summary) that an enterprise fund that allocates a fee to property owners based on the amount of impervious surfaces on the parcel is a more equitable approach to fund stormwater management. The Town will pay their share of the stormwater fee out of the General Fund; the remaining expenditures will be moved out of the General Fund to the Enterprise Fund.
A Stormwater Enterprise Fund will be proposed in the fall of 2023 to support development of a stormwater utility in Lexington.
This Stormwater Enterprise Fund - Policy and Process Decision Document (April 2022) provides additional information related to the proposed stormwater fees and rate structure).
Stormwater Fee Property Viewer
Check out the property viewer for detailed information about each parcel of land in town, including impervious area.
Proposed FY25 Fees
A rate model was developed that distributed the annual stormwater revenue requirements by the total rate base (i.e., impervious area eligible to be charged a stormwater fee). The proposed fee structure includes 3 tiers for Single Family Residential (SFR) properties with less than 7,000 square feet of impervious area, based on their individual amount of impervious area (see table to the right). For non-single family residential (NSFR) properties and SFR with over 7,000 square feet of impervious area, the impervious area on the parcel will be divided by the ERU value to calculate the total number of ERUs on a per parcel basis. NSFR properties are defined as all multi-family and non-residential (e.g., commercial, industrial, institutional) properties not encompassed by the definition of SFR.
A detailed analysis and description of the proposed rate structure is provided in the Stormwater Enterprise Fund – Policy and Process Decision Document (April 2022). Subsequent Select Board meetings have refined the rate structure and fees presented in the April 2022 document. The current proposed fees are presented below.
All property owners can use this Stormwater Utility Property Viewer to look up the estimated fee calculated for each property in Lexington.
|IA <= 2,300 sf
|2,300 sf < IA <= 4,200 sf
|4,200 sf < IA <= 7,000 sf
|FY 25 Rate
|$155 per ERU
|$155 per ERU
Reducing Your Fee
The Town alone can not meet goals for better streamflow and water quality without the help of private property owners. To encourage participation, the stormwater utility allows for a credit policy where property owners receive a reduction in their annual fee based on their contribution to stormwater improvements (such as collecting and treating stormwater onsite or volunteering for certain activities that benefit the Town’s program).
The credit policy is currently under development.
Town staff and the Town's consultant will hold a number of in-person and virtual meetings with stakeholders throughout our community. Dates and details of these meetings will be shared in the coming months.
Previous Presentations & Outreach
- Select Board September 13, 2021 (Video starts around 53 min)
- Select Board June 6, 2022 (Video starts around 30 min)
- Lexington’s Stormwater Management Program
- Lexington's Stream Team
- The Impervious Problem (8-min video)
- Charles River Watershed Association
- Massachusetts Clean Water Toolkit – Urban Stormwater Runoff and Best Management Practices
- MassDEP Pathways to Financing Presentation (April 2021 by Laura Schifman, PhD, Stormwater Coordinator)
- MassDEP Summary of MA Stormwater Utilities (Excel)
- EPA Region 1 Fact Sheet: Funding Stormwater
- Western Kentucky University Stormwater Utility Survey 2022
- Black & Veatch 2021 Stormwater Utility Survey Report