Council gives final approval for stormwater utility fee

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This drainage channel under Mill Street is one project on the books for improvement. (Photo by Steve Southwell)

Lewisville has $33.7 million worth of future projects on the books to repair and improve stormwater infrastructure. With action taken Oct. 2, the city will finally have a means to fund the projects.

The Lewisville City Council gave the final go-ahead for the city to begin collecting stormwater fees from utility customers at its meeting Monday night. Its passage was years in the making, with initial discussions beginning in 1992.

The most recent incarnation started with the city council’s 2013 annual retreat. In October, 2016, the council gave city staff approval to develop the utility. Monday’s passage of the ordinance clears the way for Lewisville’s utility department to begin billing.

When heavy rains hit Lewisville and areas upstream from our major creeks, the city’s storm sewers and other drainage infrastructure have to transport that water quickly downstream to prevent flooding and erosion of public and private property. The money collected will be used to start work on the city’s top priorities for repair and improvements.

Lewisville Texans will see a $4 per month charge added to their residential utility bills, listed as “Drainage.” Commercial utility customers will pay $1.43 per month per 1,000 feet of impervious surface.

Buildings, driveways and parking lots count as impervious surface. They contribute more to stormwater runoff since they prevent the water from seeping into the ground.

Lewisville watershed map shows the areas that drain into each of the city’s major creeks and the Elm Fork Trinity River. (Map via City of Lewisville)

The city has developed a database of all the commercial properties in order to calculate the charges. Commercial customers can use the city’s Stormwater Fee Finder website to determine what their monthly fee will be. Apartment complexes would be billed the same as commercial customers.

Paying for the drainage improvements through utility bills shifts more of the costs to commercial customers than if the same improvements had been paid for through property taxes, according to city staff. Homeowners will save $18.04 a year by having the charge as part of the utility bill rather than the city increasing property taxes enough to raise the same amount of money for the projects.

The city expects to collect $2.9 million in the current fiscal year through the new fees.
Lewisville and Carrollton were the last cities in the DFW area that had not collected a stormwater fee. Lewisville’s fee for single family residential stormwater service puts it in the mid-range of the list of local cities that staff researched in setting the fee.

Chart shows local cities and their residential stormwater fees. (Courtesy City

Grapevine, McKinney and Irving also have their fees at $4. Plano and Richardson charge $3.10 and $3.75. Flower Mound charges $4.29. Dallas and Fort Worth are on the high end charging $7.77 and $8.10. Coppell only charges $1 per month.

Charges will show up on all Lewisville utility bill starting with the first statements issued after January 2018.

Other business

The Culture Committee presented a city values statement for city staff to follow in performing their jobs. The committee met monthly since 2016 working on strategies to communicate, reinforce and sustain the staff’s culture.

The values set, which the committee dubbed The Lewisville Way, consists of three key values: Value people, serve every day and build our future. More information about that can be found in the presentation at ltjne.ws/lewisvilleway.

The council also approved a zone change request for property on the northeast corner of Highland Drive and Denton Tap Road, owned by Vista Ridge United Methodist Church.

Formerly zoned R-5 single family, the new zoning will be ETH estate townhome. The development by Skorburg Company, which is purchasing the property, will have 32 single-family detached homes.

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