Fort Lauderdale may raise storm water fees

The city government is looking for more revenue to control increased flooding

Flooding in Fort Lauderdale
Flooding in Fort Lauderdale

The city of Fort Lauderdale may increase storm water fees to protect the public from flooding, which has worsened in recent years during periods of high tide.

City commissioners are considering a proposal to nearly double the city’s total annual revenue from storm water fees from $8.5 million to $16.6 million.

Under the proposal, the calculation of storm water fees would be based on the traffic a property generates.

The proposal came from consulting firm Burton & Associates, Inc., which conducted a rate study for the city.

City Manager Lee Feldman said the proposal would mean lower storm water fees for a warehouse than a supermarket, which benefits more from improved drainage to keep roads from flooding.

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Feldman said more revenue from storm water fees could help Fort Lauderdale cover $140 million to $240 million in costs to improve drainage systems and heighten sea walls.

Mayor Jack Seiler said city commissioners should consider storm water fees based not only on the traffic a property generates, but also the extent to which a property is impervious and blocks storm-water drainage. The degree of imperviousness is how fees are calculated now.

The proposal by Burton & Associates would require owners of single-family homes to pay $6 a month for storm water drainage as part of their monthly water bills, which would be unchanged from last year.

But other types of property owners would pay more. The monthly storm water fee would rise from $1.06 to $4.18 for condo owners, from $178.42 to $758.64 for supermarket owners, and from $283.58 to $4,062.15 for government entities.

Flooding in Fort Lauderdale is likely to worsen as sea level rises. According to the Southeast Florida Regional Compact Climate Action Plan, sea level is expected to rise six to 10 inches by 2030. [Sun-Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth