ORDINANCE OF THE FLORENCE CITY COUNCIL
ORDINANCE NUMBER 99-37
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION DESCRIPTION
Sec. 12-256 Findings
Sec. 12-257 Additional definitions
Sec. 12-258  Stormwater service charge rates
Sec. 12-259 Exemptions and credits applicable  to stormwater service charges
Sec. 12-260 Stormwater service charge billing, delinquencies and collections
Sec. 12-261 Appeals
Sec. 12-262 Severability
Sec. 12-263 Repeal of conflicting ordinances

No. 99-37   

AN ORDINANCE OF THE FLORENCE CITY COUNCIL, RELATING TO STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE CITY; STATING FINDINGS OF FACT REGARDING STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE CITY AND FUNDING NEEDS ASSOCIATED THEREWITH; ADOPTING FEES, RATES, RENTALS, CHARGES, FINES, AND PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR SERVICE FEE CREDITS COMMENSURATE WITH THE PUBLIC STORMWATER MANAGEMENT COST-REDUCING AND/OR MITIGATIVE EFFECT PROVIDED BY PRIVATELY OWNED OR PROVIDED STORM MANAGEMENT SERVICES, SYSTEMS, FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES; SPECIFYING HOW STORMWATER UTILITY FEES, RATES, RENTALS, CHARGES, FINES, AND PENALTIES MAY BE BILLED AND COLLECTED; SPECIFYING HOW DELINQUENT STORMWATER UTILITY FEES, RATES, RENTALS, CHARGES, FINES, AND PENALTIES MAY BE COLLECTED AND HOW DELINQUENCY CHARGES MAY BE APPLIED; PROVIDING ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS; DECLARING THAT INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THIS ORDINANCE SHALL BE SEVERABLE ONE FROM ANOTHER; ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE DATE; REPEALING CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES RELATED TO STORMWATER ACTIVITIES

WHEREAS, the City of Florence, South Carolina is to provide Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities throughout the City of Florence, which services, systems, and facilities contribute to the protection and preservation of the public health, safety, and welfare and protection of natural resources;

WHEREAS, the Federal Clean Water Act as amended by the Water Quality Act of 1987 (33 U.S.C 1251 et seq.), other amendments and rules promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Act and its amendments place increased emphasis on the role of local governments in developing, implementing, conducting, and funding stormwater management programs which address the water quality impacts of soft water runoff;

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Florence has determined that development in the City to date and the outlook for continued development has created and will continue to create a need for Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities within Florence;

WHEREAS, The City of Florence has engaged a consultant to perform professional engineering and financial analyses of the City's stormwater management needs and the solutions available to the City, and has received, reviewed, and considered the results of the consultant's analyses which identify stormwater management needs, propose strategic program goals and priorities, evaluate alternative funding opportunities, estimate the cost of stormwater management services and facilities, and project the rate base available within the City to meet such costs;

WHEREAS, the City Council finds and concludes from the professional engineering and financial analyses that it would be desirable to provide for additional Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities within certain more developed portions of the unincorporated area of the City of Florence;

WHEREAS, the City council finds and concludes from the professional engineering and financial analyses that an adequate, stable, and dedicated source of funding will be essential if the City of Florence is to provide the level of Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities that would be desirable to meet the existing and future needs of Florence;

WHEREAS, the City Council has previously established a stormwater management utility and an enterprise fund accounting unit has been established within the City of Florence accounting structure for the purpse of separately accounting for the revenues and expenditures of the stormwater management utility;

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the City Council to proceed with the adoption of a schedule of fees, rates, rentals, charges, fines and penalties appropriate to and sufficient to fund Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities through the stormwater management utility;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROINA:

              The City Code of the City of Florence is hereby amended by adding to Chapter 12, Article IV as follows:

Sec. 12-256  FINDINGS

The City Council of Florence, South Carolina makes the following findings of fact:

(a)        The City Council finds, concludes, and determines that a schedule of stormwater utility service charges based on the area of impervious coverage on each property is the most appropriate and equitable means of allocating the cost of Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities throughout the City of Florence.  Such charges can be complemented by other funding methods which address specific needs, including but not limited to allocations of other revenues available to the City, special service fees, special assessments, and other revenues as deemed appropriate by the City Council.

(b)        The City Council finds that credits against stormwater utility service charges are an appropriate means of adjusting fees, rates, rentals, charges, fines, and penalties in certain cases, and should be granted for properties providing on-site or off-site services, systems, facilities, activities, or assets which reduce or otherwise mitigate the impact of said property on the City's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and/or Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities, and that such credits should be conditional upon continuing provision of such services, systems, facilities, activities, or assets in a manner complying with the standards and codes as determined by the City Manager or his or her designee.  Credits for activities which reduce the City's cost of public information and education about stormwater management may include credits against stormwater service charges to the public school system.  Credits for educational programs and other activities related to stormwater management provided by the public schools shall be based on the City's avoided costs as determined by the City Engineer and not on the cost of the educational programs or other activities.  Credits for on-line stormwater management systems and facilities shall be generally proportional to the affect that systems have on the peak rate of runoff from the site.

(c)        The City Council finds that the area of impervious surfaces on each property is the most important factor influencing the cost of the Stormwater Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities provided by the City or to be provided by the City in the future, and that the area of impervious surfaces on each property is therefore the most appropriate parameter for calculating a periodic stormwater service charge.

(d)        The City Council finds that it is imperative that all revenues raised or otherwise allocated specifically to Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities be dedicated solely to those purposes and directs that such revenues shall therefore be deposited into the enterprise accounting fund of the stormwater utility and shall remain in that find and be dispersed only for stormwater management capital, operating, and non-operating costs and debt service of bonds for stormwater management purposes.

Sec. 12-257   ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS.

(a)               CREDITS.   Credit shall mean a conditional reduction in the amount of a stormwater service charge or other fees, rates, rentals, charges, fines, and penalties to an individual property based on; the provision and continuing presence of an effectively  maintained and operational on-site stormwater system or facility; and/or continuing provision of a service or activity that reduces the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities; and/or on the direct discharge of runoff to a receiving water that is not operated, maintained, improved, and regulated by the City of Florence.

(b)               DETACHED SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING UNIT.  Detached single-family dwelling unit shall mean developed land containing one structure which is not attached to another dwelling and which contains one or more bedrooms, with a bathroom and kitchen facilities, designed for occupancy by one family.  Detached dwelling units may include houses, manufactured homes, and mobile homes located on one or more individual lots or parcels of land.  Developed land may be classified as a detached single-family dwelling unit despite the presence of incidental structures associated with residential uses such as garages, carports, or small storage buildings, or the presence of a commercial use within the dwelling unit so long as such use does not result in additional areas of impervious surfaces such as parking spaces, playgrounds, or structures or additions to the building which are used as offices, storage facilities, meeting rooms, classrooms, houses of worship, or similar non-residential uses.  Detached dwelling units shall not include developed land containing:  structures used primarily for non-residential purposes, manufactured homes and mobile homes located within manufactured home or mobile home parks where the land is owned by others than the owners of the manufactured homes or mobile homes, or multiple dwelling unit residential properties.

(c)             DEVELOPED LAND.  Developed land shall mean property altered from its natural state by construction or installation of more than 200 square feet of impervious surfaces as defined in this Chapter.

(d)            DUPLEXES AND TRIPLEXES.  Duplexes and triplexes shall mean developed land containing two (duplex) or three (triplex) attached residential dwelling units located on one or more parcels of land.

(e)            EQUIVALENT RESIDENTIAL UNIT.  For the purposes of this ordinance, an Equivalent Residential Unit shall mean two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet of Impervious Surfaces.  The equivalent residential unit shall be used as the basis for determining stormwater service charges to detached single-family dwelling unit properties or classes of detached dwelling unit properties and other properties.

(f)            MULTIPLE-DWELLING UNIT RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES.  Multiple-dwelling unit residential properties shall mean developed land whereon more than one residential dwelling unit is located, and shall include, but not be limited to duplexes, triplexes, apartment houses, condominiums, townhomes, attached single-family homes, boarding houses, group homes, hotels and motels, retirement centers, and other structures in which more than one family group commonly and normally reside or could reside.  In the application of stormwater service charges, multiple-dwelling unit properties shall be treated as other developed lands as defined in this Chapter.

(g)           OTHER DEVELOPED LANDS.  Other developed lands shall mean, but not be limited to, multiple-dwelling residential unit properties, manufactured home and mobile home parks, commercial and office buildings, public buildings and structures, industrial and manufacturing buildings, storage buildings and storage areas covered with impervious surfaces, parking lots, parks, recreation properties, public and private schools and universities, research facilities and stations, hospitals and convalescent centers, airports, agricultural uses covered by impervious surfaces, and water and wastewater treatment plants.

(h)            STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SERVICES.  Stormwater management services are those activities and functions conducted by the city of Florence that together result in the collection, conveyance, and disposal of stormwater runoff, including support activities and functions necessary to accomplish the mission of the stormwater management program, and shall include but not be limited to the administration, engineering, operation and maintenance, regulation and enforcement, and improvement of systems and facilities, review of development proposals and of the installation and maintenance of stormwater systems on private properties, provision of stormwater quality management programs to eliminate or mitigate the impact of pollutants contained in stormwater runoff, and flood emergency response and recovery measures.

(i)            STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND FACILITIES.  Stormwater management systems and facilities include, but are not limited to, rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, channels, ditches, swales, other drainage ways, storm sewers, culverts, inlets, catch basins, headwalls, dams, reservoirs and other impoundments, flumes, stormwater detention and retention storage areas, filters, riparian areas, plants, works, instrumentalities, properties, and other structural and non-structural components that control, capture, collect, convey, route, restrict, store, detain, retain, infiltrate, cleanse, or otherwise affect or influence the flow of stormwater within the City and the quality of stormwater discharged from the City.

(j)            STORMWATER SERVICE CHARGES.  Stormwater service charges shall mean the periodic sercie charge imposed pursuant to this Chapter by the City for the purpose of funding costs related to stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities.  The use of the area of impervious surface on each property as a stormwater service charge rate parameter shall not preclude the use of other parameters, or of grouping of properties having similar characteristics into classes or categories, grouping of properties having similar characteristics through the use of ranges or rounding up or down to a consistent numerical interval, or the use of flat-rate charges for one or more classes of similarly-situated properties whose impact on City of Florence's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities is relatively consistent.  Stormwater service charges may also include special charges to individual properties or persons for services, systems, or facilities related to stormwater management, including but not limited to charges for development plan review, inspection of development projects and on-site stormwater control systems, and enhanced levels of stormwater service above and beyond the levels normally provided by the City of Florence.

Sec. 12-258            STORMWATER SERVICE CHARGE RATES.

Stormwater service charge rates may be determined and modified from time to time by the City Council so that the total revenue generated by said charges and any other sources of revenues or other resources allocated by the City Council to the stormwater utility shall be sufficient to meet the cost of stormwater management services, systems, and facilities, including but not limited to the payment of principal and interest on debt obligations, operating expense, capital outlays, non-operating expense, provisions for prudent reserves, and other costs related to stormwater as deemed appropriate by the City Council.  The following stormwater service charge rates shall apply:

(a)        Detached dwelling units.  Detached dwelling units, as defined by this Chapter, shall be divided into two classes of customers for billing purposes.  All detached dwelling units having more than 1,500 square feet of impervious area shall be billed for one equivalent residential unit, as defined in this Chapter.  All detached dwelling units having 1,500 square feet of impervious area or less shall be billed for one-half (.5) of one equivalent residential unit, as defined in the Chapter.

(b)        Other developed lands.  All developed lands not classified as detached dwelling units, as defined by this Chapter, shall be billed for one equivalent residential unit, as defined by this Chapter, for each two thousand five hundred (2,500) square foot increment of impervious surfaces or partial increment thereof located on the property.

(c)        The stormwater service charge rate per equivalent residential unit, as defined in this Chapter, shall be three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) per month during the City's fiscal years 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003.

Sec. 12-259       EXEMPTIONS AND CREDITS APPLICABLE TO STORMWATER SERVICE CHARGES.

Except as provided in this Section, no public or private property shall be exempt from stormwater utility service charges or receive a credit or offset against such service charges.  No exemption, credit, offset, or other reduction in stormwater service charges shall be granted based on the age, tax, or economic status, race, or religion of the customer, or other condition unrelated to the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities.  A Stormwater Utility Service Charge Credit Technical Manual shall be prepared by the City Engineer specifying the design and performance standards of on-site stormwater services, systems, facilities, and activities that qualify for application of a service charge credit, and how such credits shall be calculated.

(a)            Properties not defined in this Chapter, as developed land shall be exempt from stormwater service charges.

(b)        Railroad tracks shall be exempt from stormwater service charges.  However, railroad stations, maintenance buildings, or other developed land used for railroad purposes shall not be exempt from stormwater service charges.

(c)            Developed land other than individual detached dwelling units, including but not limited to multiple-dwelling residential unit properties, manufactured home and mobile home parks, commercial and office buildings, public buildings and structures, industrial and manufacturing buildings, storage buildings and storage areas covered with impervious surfaces, parking lots, parks, recreation properties, public and private schools and universities, research facilities and stations, hospitals and convalescent centers, airports, agricultural uses covered by impervious surfaces, and water and wastewater treatment plants may receive a credit against the stormwater service charge applicable to the property based on attaining and continuing compliance with the technical requirements and performance standards contained in the Stormwater Utility Service Charge Credit Technical Manual. The stormwater utility service charge credit for on-site stormwater control systems or facilities that reduce or mitigate the impact of impervious surfaces on the subject property may be up to fifty (50) percent of the service charge applicable to the property, and shall be proportional to the extent that the on-site stormwater control systems or facilities provided, operated, and maintained by the property owner reduce or mitigate the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities.  The stormwater utility service charge credit for services and activities that reduce or mitigate the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities shall be proportional to the reduced costs realized by the stormwater management utility, but shall not be related to the cost of such services and activities to the person or entity providing same.

(d)        Groups of detached dwelling units represented by an incorporated homeowner's association providing on-site stormwater control systems or facilities, or providing services or activities that reduce the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities, may receive a stormwater service charge credit based on attaining and continuing compliance with the technical requirements and performance standards contained in the Stormwater Utility Service Charge Credit Technical Manual.  The stormwater utility service charge credit for on-site stormwater control systems or facilities that reduce or mitigate the impact of impervious surfaces on the subject property may be up to fifty (50) percent of the service charge applicable to the property, and shall be proportional to the extent that the on-site stormwater control systems or facilities provided, operated, and maintained by the property owner reduce or mitigate the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities.  Such credits shall be proportionately allocated among all properties represented by the incorporated homeowner's association.  A stormwater utility service charge credit for services and activities that reduce or mitigate the stormwater utility's cost of providing Stormwater Management Services and Stormwater Management Systems and Facilities shall be proportional to the reduced costs realized by the stormwater management utility, but shall not be related to the cost of such services and activities to the person or entity providing same.  Such credits shall be proportionately allocated among all properties represented by the incorporated homeowner's association.

Sec. 12-260       STORMWATER SERVICE CHARGE BILLING, DELINQUENCIES AND COLLECTIONS.

A stormwater service charge bill may be sent through the United States mail or by alternative means, notifying the customer of the amount of the bill, the date the payment is due, and the date when past due.  The stormwater service charge bill may be billed and collected along with other charges, including but not limited to other City of Florence utility bills, assessments, or property taxes, as deemed most effective and efficient by the City Council.  Failure to receive a bill is not justification for non-payment.  Regardless of the party to whom the bill is initially directed, the owner of each parcel of developed land shall be ultimately obligated to pay such charges and any associated fines or penalties, including but not limited to interest on delinquent service charges.  If a customer is underbilled or if no bill is sent for developed land, City of Florence may backbill for a period of up to one year, but shall not assess penalties for any delinquency during that backbilled period.  A late charge of one and one-half (1.5) percent of the unpaid balance of any stormwater utility service charge bill shall be charged when a bill becomes delinquent.  Thereafter, an additional charge of one and one-half (1.5) percent based on the unpaid bill and any applicable delinquency charge shall be charged for each month the bill remains delinquent.

Sec. 12-261            APPEALS.

Any customer who believes the provisions of this Article have been applied in error may appeal in the following manner and sequence.

(a)        An appeal must be filed in writing with the City Engineer.  In the case of stormwater service charge appeals, the appeal shall include a survey prepared by a registered land surveyor or professional engineer containing information on the total property area, the impervious surface area, and any other features or conditions that influence the hydrologic response of the property to rainfall events.

(b)        Using information provided by the appellant, a technical committee comprised of the City Engineer (or his or her designee) and two other persons appointed by the City Manager shall conduct a technical review of the conditions on the property and respond to the appeal in writing within thirty (30) days.  In response to an appeal, the City Engineer may adjust the stormwater service charge applicable to the property in conformance with the general purposes and intent of this Chapter.

(c)        A decision of the technical committee that is adverse to an appellant may be further appealed to the City Manager within thirty (30) days of the adverse decision.  Notice of the appeal shall be delivered to the City Manager by the appellant, stating the grounds for further appeal.  The City Manager shall issue a written decision on the appeal within thirty (30) days.  All decisions by the City Manager shall be served on the customer personally or by registered or certified mail, sent to the billing address of the customer.  All decisions of the City Manager shall be final, except that this provision shall not abridge the right of any person to seek relief in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(d)        The appeal process contained in this section shall be a condition precedent to an aggrieved customer seeking judicial relief.  Any decisions of the City Manager may be reviewed upon Application for Writ of Certiorari before the Superior Court of City of Florence, filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the service of the decision.

Sec. 12-262       SEVERABILITY.

Should any part of this Ordinance be declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction the remaining portions hereof shall not be affected and shall remain in full force and effect.

Sec. 12-263       REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES.  

All Ordinances or parts thereof in conflict with the foregoing are hereby repealed, and in cases of uncertain conflict this Ordinance shall prevail.