Priority 1: Storm Water Management, Recurrent Flooding & Sea Level Rise

This is the most pressing challenge facing our city.
mail truck attempting to navigate flooded street ​​During a retreat earlier this year, council members agreed that addressing backlogs in storm water maintenance and dealing with flooding should be the City’s top priority. This budget provides the sustained funding necessary to grow the City’s storm water program, hire the necessary staff and accelerate project design, construction, operations and maintenance to more rapidly reduce our flooding risks. 

All possible funding sources, including federal and state dollars will be explored, however we may need to act independently to protect our community from this looming threat by generating the necessary revenue to accelerate and expand flood mitigation initiatives.

The FY 2019-20 budget increases the funds designated for these areas in the six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by 41%. This reflects 25 new projects added to the CIP. But, those increases just begin to address sea level rise. 

Earlier this year, an independent study by Dewberry​ revealed that, in the long term, the City will need to spend $2 to $5 billion on projects to address sea level rise and climate change. 

Because the City anticipates the need to continue funding storm water projects well into the future to address the issues created by sea level rise, in addition to the 1.5¢ real estate tax increase and 3.5¢ daily storm water rate increase, this budget also includes a 3.5¢ increase in the daily storm water rate for each of the following five years to build up the funds needed to undertake these necessary projects. However, staff is conducting an analysis of the daily storm water rate with the intention of developing options that would reduce the regressive nature of a single rate for all residences across the city so that residences that generate less runoff (due to less impervious surfaces) would pay a lower rate. ​

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