In a 6-0 unanimous vote, Roanoke City Council has adopted an ordinance which will impose a storm water utility fee for all residents, businesses, and non-profits in Roanoke city.
Pending state and federal environmental regulations have forced the hand of Roanoke city leaders to solve about $60 million worth of storm water run-off issues.
Even though the city finalized the storm water utility fee on Monday, leaders have been working for the past four years on storm water projects, which focus on cleaning up streams and rivers and updating storm drains.
New federal regulations will go into effect July 1, and that's when home and business owners can expect their first monthly bill.The new storm water utility fee will affect each home and business owner in Roanoke City.
Roanoke city manager Chris Morrill says property owners will receive a monthly bill based on their property size of impervious surfaces, like roofs and driveways.
"That's surfaces that water can't penetrate, so instead it flushes off into the streets and eventually into the rivers," Morrill said.
The average cost per month is $6 for homeowners $55 for business owners.
Morrill says those fees will go to projects that will reduce flooding in the city, clean up existing streams with a focus on the Roanoke River, and better maintain current drainage systems.
But there are ways to reduce your monthly bill.
Morrill says property owners can receive incentives or fee breaks by making upgrades or adding storm water-friendly surfaces.
"If you put in pervious surfaces, surfaces that the water can actually run through, or cleans the water, or if you have a rain barrel, or if you install a green roof, there is an incentive, because the real goal is to reduce the amount of water runoff, which will both reduce flooding and clean up the rivers," Morrill said.
Morrill says the process will be lengthy, but the end goal is to have the Roanoke River clean enough to drink from in 2025.