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The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission voted to create a stormwater utility fee in December 2004. The utility fee raises the revenues needed to fund Athens-Clarke's Stormwater Management Program. This program brings us into compliance with federal regulations and safeguards our community through improved drainage and protection of local waterways. The stormwater utility fee charges properties in Athens-Clarke County based on that property's contribution to the need for stormwater management. The utility uses the amount of impervious surface, or surface that water is unable to soak into, on a property as the primary basis for the fee. This user-fee system represents a way to raise revenue for the program by charging those who directly contribute to its need. This method presents our community with an alternative to an across-the-board tax hike.
The stormwater utility fee pays for the operations and maintenance costs of the stormwater management program. Some of the services tied to the stormwater program include:
The stormwater utility bill is structured to be paid by the property owner, who might not be the same person who receives the water bill. Property owners make decisions about how the stormwater from their property is managed. In Athens-Clarke County, nearly 50% of properties are occupied by someone other than the owner. Typically, the occupant receives the monthly water bill but it would be inappropriate for a tenant to receive the stormwater utility fee as well.
On the date of a closure, the closing attorney generates a Property Transfer form (PT-61) that is filed with the deed for the change of ownership. The closing attorney has 90 days to file this paperwork. The state receives the paperwork and sends it out to the stormwater utility, the Tax Assessor, and any other parties who subscribe to the forms. Once the stormwater utility receives notification of the transfer, Billing Staff will close the account under the old owner's name and begin an account in the new owner's name. A prorated final bill (based on the closing date) will be mailed to the old owner, and a prorated first bill will be mailed to the new owner with the next billing cycle.
Stormwater utility bills are based on the amount of impervious surface that is present on the property. The impervious surface is now calculated from 2013 aerial images of every property in the county. If you believe that the area of impervious surface has been calculated incorrectly or has changed since the 2013 images were produced, please contact the Stormwater Management Program at 706-613-3440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stormwater credits are given to properties with installed and maintained stormwater systems that meet the requirements of the Athens-Clarke stormwater management ordinance and the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual. Stormwater ponds, wetlands, infiltration trenches, and other management systems reduce the velocity or rate of the runoff or clean up the pollutants found in stormwater. When properly maintained and installed, these systems can qualify for a reduction in fee for the property that they serve.
If you have a drainage issue and would like to have your property reviewed by the ACC Drainage Inspector, please email email@example.com. In certain instances, Athens-Clarke County Stormwater may be able to offer assistance through a drainage improvement agreement. This program aids property owners in resolving drainage problems on private property. The program provides labor for the engineering design and the installation of stormwater facilities needed to alleviate the drainage problem. The property owner is responsible for the cost of materials for the project. For more information about the drainage improvement program, contact Stormwater Management at 706-613-3440.
Athens-Clarke County Stormwater offers free rain barrel workshops for the public every fall and spring. To make sure you never miss a workshop, sign up for the Stormwater Education calendar or newsflash. We always post upcoming workshops on the calendar and in our monthly newsletter. If you have any questions or would like to make a container donation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you cannot wait for one of our workshops, check out this list of rain barrel retailers in Athens. You can also bid on a one-of-a-kind painted rain barrel at Roll Out the Barrels, an annual event that raises funds for the ACC Green School Program.