Developed areas like Braintree include many parking lots, buildings, roadways and other hardened “impervious surfaces.” When it rains, water runs off impervious surfaces and picks up pet waste, oil, sand, fertilizers, and other pollutants. It then flows into gutters and storm drains, which discharge it directly into the nearest waterway.
Polluted stormwater runoff is the single largest source of pollution to Braintree’s ponds and waterways.
Stormwater runoff and impervious surfaces are also major factors in flooding.
Braintree’s stormwater infrastructure collects runoff from all over town through a network of 3,887 storm drain inlets, more than 2,135 manholes, more than 98 miles of pipe, and 261 discharge points. The system discharges directly into local waterways, which are themselves a critical part of Braintree’s stormwater system.
Braintree is facing new federal requirements to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater runoff it discharges to waterways. This will require the Town to increase its investment in stormwater infrastructure without any funding by the federal government.
The Town currently funds stormwater infrastructure through property taxes. One alternative for funding stormwater infrastructure is through a stormwater utility, which is based on user fees for the amount of hardened or impervious surface—such as parking lots, driveways and buildings—that cause stormwater runoff on each parcel. Like water and sewer fees, a stormwater utility allocates costs based on the amount of use, in this case, the amount of stormwater being generated.
How is the Fee Calculated?
The basic “rate” for a stormwater fee is calculated by dividing the amount to be raised ($630,000), by the total area of impervious cover in the town excluding public roadways (84,696,462 square feet). This equals approximately 23 cents per 100 square feet of impervious or $6.25 a quarter per Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU). The ERU was calculated as noted below.
What Would the Typical Fees Look Like?
The proposed rate structure was finalized by the Mayor’s office based on input collected during required public hearings. The total amount of funding to be raised was approved by Town Council in May. See the tables below for sample fees based on the proposed fee structure and a budget of $630,000.
Quarterly Fees for Single Home Families
|Property Type||Flat Fee|
|Multifamily (1 to 3)||$6.25|
Quarterly Fees for Other Property Types
|Property Type||25% of lots pay less than||50% of lots pay less than||75% of lots pay less than||Fee for largest lot|
|Multi Family (4+)||$6.25||$6.25||$9.60||$6/ res. unit|
For more information on the Stormwater utility, you can view the Braintree Stormwater Utility Fact Sheet (PDF).