With Hermine causing road closures and flooding all over Tampa Bay, the City Council and Tampa residents took to city hall to vote on a fee that would help pay for $251 million in improvements to our city’s drainage system. The comprehensive improvements would impact all of Tampa, from waterfront properties to inland homes. Residents were uncomfortable with the idea of the fee and a few council members agreed, noting that there are households in the area that couldn’t handle incurring more mandatory fees.
While there was resistance, the measure ultimately passes in a 4-2 vote on September 1. Improvements include system capacity increases, treatment facilities such as ponds, ditches and baffle boxes, new pipelines and box culverts, pump stations, backflow valves, inlets, curb and gutter systems, as well as roadway regrading to improve flow patterns.
The City intends to collect the Improvement Assessment for thirty years, the first of which will be included on the tax bill to be mailed in November of this year. The estimated amount to be collected by the City is $7,424,133 in 2016 increasing to an estimated amount of $14,775,203 in 2021 through 2045.
These funds will be used for projects only within the Central and Lower Basin Improvement Area. Homes have been divided into specific tax parcels: Small Single Family Parcels, Medium Single Family Parcels, Large Single Family Parcels, Very Large Single Family Parcels, Condominium Residential Unit Parcels, Condominium Common Area Parcels, Small Multi-Family Parcels, Medium MultiFamily Parcels, Large Multi-Family Parcels, or General Parcels.
The Stormwater Improvement Assessment rate is proposed to be no more than $89.55 per ESU (equivalent stormwater unit) annually. However the City plans to increase to that maximum amount over a six year period. The Stormwater Improvement Assessment is proposed to have an initial rate of $44.99 per ESU beginning in 2016. In some cases, a mitigation credit reducing the bill amount will be granted if the property has a properly maintained private drainage facility in place.
The city has put in place a hardship program that will help pay the fee for elderly residents in Tampa and a mitigation policy for applicable homes. Click HERE to learn more about the program.