Draft Funding Strategies Report

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Draft Funding Strategies Report

In March 2010, the Alachua County Public Works Department (ACPW) completed the County’s Stormwater Master Plan (SMP) which identified the stormwater needs and costs associated with implementing a Stormwater Management Program within Alachua County. On November 10, 2009 Alachua County entered into a professional services agreement with Inwood Consulting Engineers, Inc. who subcontracted with Government Services Group, Inc. (GSG) and Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A. (NGN) to provide specialized services in the development of a funding strategies plan for stormwater management services within the unincorporated area of the County. The objective of the Stormwater Funding Strategies Report (FSR) was to evaluate different funding mechanisms to fund the various components of a Stormwater Management Program. The FSR evaluated the existing funding sources within the County and determined whether each existing funding source could be used to fund components of the needs identified in the SMP. The FSR also evaluated external funding sources (grants) that could be used to fund portions of the needs identified in the SMP. The FSR determined that there are existing funding sources available, but they have either been maximized by the County, they are earmarked for other programs or it would take extraordinary measures (e.g., referendums) to use. The funding recommendation in the FSR is a County-wide stormwater assessment for the County-wide needs and a Special-benefit area assessment and/or a Planning-Unit benefit area assessment for the needs that benefit a particular area. The FSR was split in eight sections which are described in more detail below.

Section 1: Introduction

This section describes the scope of the FSR, the objectives of the FSR and the methodology and assumptions used in developing the FSR. The following assumptions were used in development of the FSR:

  1. The Stormwater Management Program needs are based on those identified in the County’s Stormwater Master Plan.
  2. Methodology and analysis done in accordance with the August 2009 Local Government Financial Information Handbook by the Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
  3. The County’s 2009-2010 Fiscal adopted budget was used to evaluate existing funding sources.
  4. The 2009 Ad Valorem tax roll from the Property Appraiser was used for parcel data.
Section 2: Stormwater Management Program

This section provides a list of the needs identified in the SMP to provide an enhanced level of stormwater services. The needs are as follows:

  1. Staffing dedicated to the operation and maintenance of stormwater facilities
  2. Equipment dedicated to the operation and maintenance of stormwater facilities
  3. Program administration
  4. Regulation and code development support
  5. Inspection and enforcement support
  6. Public education support
  7. Environmental Protection Department staffing
  8. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) administration
  9. Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) support
  10. Street sweeping
  11. Master Plan reimbursement
  12. Stormwater Master Plan and Program updates
  13. Program setup and maintenance
  14. Identification of priority capital flooding projects (CIPs)
  15. Identification of priority water quality projects
  16. Identification of priority watershed studies
Section 3: Funding Requirements

This section breaks down the costs associated with the Stormwater Management Program for the following scenarios:

  1. 5 and 10 year cost breakdown for the entire program
  2. 5 year cost breakdown for needs that are just County-wide benefit
  3. 5 year cost breakdown for Watershed Assessments
  4. 5 year Special-Benefit area cost breakdown for the major flooding locations

5 year cost breakdowns were evaluated since we have to legally show a benefit to a particular area within 5 years if we have a special benefit assessment for that area

Section 4: Funding Options

This section of the report discusses the existing internal County funding sources and external funding sources that could legally be used for funding a Stormwater Management Program and for each type of identified existing internal County funding sources, a summary table has been provided to show the following:

  1. Type of funding
  2. Estimated revenue generated
  3. Existing allocations of this revenue
  4. Feasibility to transfer this existing funding source to a Stormwater Management Program
  5. Implementation steps to transfer this existing funding source to a Stormwater Management Program

The existing internal County funding sources evaluated were:

  1. Ad Valorem property tax
  2. Motor Fuel tax
  3. Local Government Infrastructure surtax
  4. Communications Services tax
  5. Public Service tax
  6. Inter-governmental Revenues (State Revenue Sharing and the Local Government Half-Cent Sales Tax)
  7. Home-rule non-tax revenue sources: Fees and Special Assessments

The external funding sources evaluated were:

  1. TMDL water quality restorations grants
  2. Florida Section 319 Grants
  3. State revolving fund (SRF) Loans
  4. FEMA grants
  5. St. Johns River Water Management District
  6. Suwannee River Water Management District
  7. Florida Forever Grant
  8. Developer Exactions

Based on all the funding options evaluated, the FSR recommended a County-wide dedicated stormwater assessment to fund the needs that are a County-wide benefit, a Special-benefit area assessment and/or a Planning-Unit benefit area assessment to fund the needs that benefit a particular area. In addition, the FSR also recommended that the current funding of $1,200,000 towards stormwater maintenance associated with County roadways should remain funded through the Gas Tax.

Section 5: Proposed Apportionment Methodology

This section discusses the proposed assessment methodology and the credit system. The assessments methodology is based on three areas:

  1. County-wide benefit area: includes costs associated with operations and maintenance and all water quality projects (everyone in the County pays for this)
  2. Planning unit benefit area: includes costs associated with the Watershed Assessments in each Planning Unit (only parcels in the particular Planning Unit pay for this)
  3. Special benefit area: includes costs associated with the Flooding CIPs (only people that benefit from fixing a major flooding problem pay for this).

The apportionment methodology is based on an ERU rate per parcel. The ERU rate factors in the total impervious area on the parcel and the total pervious area of the parcel. Since the amount of stormwater runoff from a property is based the impervious area and the pervious area, we decided that this methodology would be the most fair.

The ERUs are split up in three categories for each type of parcel: Single-family residential parcels, Condominiums and General Parcels.

Due to the fact that the Single-family residential parcel data from the Property Appraiser only has the building footprint data and not the total impervious area data, we decided to use the building footprint area to calculate the ERU rate. Due to the complexity of analyzing all the Single-family residential properties, we decided to split the Single-family residential parcels into four categories: small, medium, large and very large single family residential parcels.

Staff is currently working on finalizing this apportionment methodology.

The proposed credit system is as follows:

  1. The parcel retains all of the runoff from their site under the 100-year critical storm in accordance with the requirements of the County’s Land Development Regulations, either independently or as part of an organization such as a homeowners association. (31% credit)
  2. Runoff from the County’s right-of-way or facility discharges onto private property and such property would be eligible for a credit. (max credit of 31%)
  3. The parcel participates in a public-private partnership with the County to address the needs identified in the Stormwater Master Plan. Examples of such public-private partnerships are:
    1. Public/private partnerships with Home Owners Association (HOAs) on educating residents within the HOA on stormwater management (Low Impact Development techniques, yard maintenance, not dumping mowing in the stormdrains)
    2. Litter pick-up by the HOA in County
    3. Adopt a ditch programs
Section 6: Data Analysis and Results

This section discusses the analysis of the parcel data and the results based on the methodologies discussed in previous sections of the report. The following is discussed in detail:​

  1. How parcel data was collected from the Property Appraiser
  2. How ERU values were assigned to parcels based on the methodology in Section 5
  3. Additional work that had to be done to verify parcel data
  4. Delineation of service area boundaries (Planning Unit benefit area, Flooding CIP benefit area, GRU service area) and allocation of ERUs to these areas
Section 7: Proforma Funding Scenarios

This section of the report presents various funding scenarios that is based on the level of funding required, apportionment methodology and proforma database with ERUs. Various scenarios are presented that show the cost per ERU based on the various levels of stormwater service per ERU. These various levels of stormwater service are based on a County-wide benefit area, a Planning Unit benefit area and a Special-Benefit area. These various scenarios also include the costs associated with implementing an assessment and assume a 40% external funding source (grants) that would fund the project within the Special-benefit areas (Flooding Capital Improvement Projects).

Section 8: Implementation

This section of the report discusses the steps the County would have to go through if we were to move forward with the recommendation of a stormwater assessment within Alachua County. This section also lists the following issues which we would have to be addressed before implementing a Stormwater Program:

  1. Impervious area data collection for parcels: A detailed analysis of the impervious area information, including detailed field verification of the impervious information should be conducted prior to implementation of the recommended funding strategy
  2. Mitigation credits and net revenue: Any mitigation credits granted by the County will result in a decrease in the amount of the total revenue generated by the County and has not been accounted for in this report
  3. Collection of assessments from Governmental properties
  4. Implementation process
Current Status

Based on our initial schedule, Public Works staff intended to begin the implementation process for a stormwater assessment this year so that a stormwater assessment could be enacted within the County next year. However, due to the current budgetary situation within the County, Public Works staff delayed the implementation process for another year. With this additional time, staff will begin a Public Involvement process to present the FSR to the general public and gather public input on the FSR in January 2011.

If you have any questions regarding the Stormwater Management Program, please contact Ruth Findley, Stormwater Engineer, at rfindley@alachuacounty.us. ​​

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