Vero Beach’s Stormater Utility is back on the table
If you want to do your part to aid in restoring our impaired Indian River Lagoon, please contact your Vero Beach City Councilman and urge him or her to take action on a separate stormwater utility without delay.
The Council will discuss this issue at a special call meeting on Tues, June 23rd at 9:30 am.
After hearing the report of consultants hired to research forming such an entity, both the City’s Utility and Finance Commissions recommended that the City move forward to create a dedicated funding source for controlling stormwater runoff. Residents and business property owners will pay a fee into this fund according to the amount of impervious surface areas on their properties. This is an equitable way to assess owners’ contributions as those with the most runoff will pay their fair share. Owners will also receive credits for any water retention efforts they currently use or install to reduce runoff.
It is apparent that the City of Vero Beach is behind the curve in addressing stormwater runoff as many of our neighboring communities, Fellsmere, Sebastian, Fort Pierce, Melbourne and others have seen the need to establish such a utility. We have aging infrastructure here in the City and it needs upgrading.
Currently, funds for stormwater runoff are lumped into the City’s general budget and receive short shrift as this infrastructure is “out of sight, out of mind”. With funds in reserve, the City will also become eligible for infrastructure matching grants from Federal and State agencies.
Along with runoff from fertilizer and septic systems (which the City has already acted to reduce), stormwater runoff is a third major contributor to lagoon pollution. Please voice your support for a dedicated stormwater funding source as part of our ongoing restoration of the lagoon. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for distribution to council members.