The City manages stormwater in Spruce Grove by planning and controlling runoff from rain and melted snow through a stormwater network. The network includes roadways, ditches, storm sewers, storm sewer manholes, catch basins, stormwater management ponds and other facilities.
Locally, the amount of stormwater is increasing due to population growth, higher density neighbourhoods and weather fluctuations. Investing in the stormwater network is essential to reduce the risk of flooding that can damage your property and the environment.
To help fund the management of the stormwater network in a fair and equitable way both now and in the future, a stormwater utility fee was approved during a Sept. 14 Council meeting and will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020.
The stormwater utility will be billed monthly and will first appear on October 2020 utility bills. All property owners with a utility account will be required to contribute.
The rate will be based on the size of the water meter servicing each property. Each year, rates will be reviewed and adjusted to ensure they adequately cover costs and meet the needs of the City.
Stormwater utility rates, effective Oct. 1, 2020:
$7.30 per month
$37.20 per month
To be considered a single, large customer and therefore eligible to receive one bill rather than multiple separate bills, property owners with multiple meters under 1 inch must meet the following criteria: be a not-for profit organization, deliver affordable housing, occupy a single parcel of land, and contain a private storm network that provides storage on the property prior to entering the City’s stormwater network.
Property owners with tenants
In tenancy situations, a separate bill will be generated and sent to the property owner. You will receive a separate bill for each individual property you own if the properties are located throughout the city and are not connected, or you own four or less properties. Property owners with five or more properties that are linked to the same property assessment (i.e., a townhouse complex or several units within the same complex) will receive one bill for each property grouping.
Stormwater Utility FAQs
How will a stormwater utility help support the City’s stormwater management services?
A stormwater utility will help address three major challenges: flood protection, environmental protection and stormwater infrastructure.
How will the stormwater utility fee be billed?
Through the utility billing system. All properties within City limits that are billed for water and sewer services will pay a fee based on meter size. While not perfect, meter size is being used to determine stormwater impacts. The fee will be added to the monthly water and sewer bills as a separate line item.
Would there be more than one stormwater rate?
Yes. The City will charge different rates to small customers and large customers as determined by the size of the water meter servicing the property. Customers with meters under 1 inch, typically residential, will pay a lower rate than customers with meters 1 inch or larger, typically non-residential or commercial.
How did the City previously pay for stormwater services?
Stormwater maintenance and repair costs were previously included in your property taxes, based on the value of your home. It was weighed against other City services, such as parks, roads and social services. Approximately 3.75 per cent of the annual tax levy was used to support the City’s stormwater services. Property tax revenues previously allocated to stormwater services are now available to fund other City services.
Why not continue using property taxes instead of implementing a stormwater utility fee?
Compared to property taxes, a stormwater utility fee is a fair and equitable approach because rates are based on the amount of stormwater runoff parcels of land generally generate, rather than property value. It also provides dedicated funding for stormwater services. All properties with a utility account is required to contribute, including properties that create significant demands on the system but were not financially contributing to stormwater management under the general property tax system. These properties, for example, include non-profit and institutional facilities.
Will property taxes be reduced when the stormwater utility fee comes into effect?
No, property taxes will not be reduced when the stormwater utility fee comes into effect. This is because the portion of property taxes previously used to fund stormwater management projects has been relatively nominal; moving to a user fee model will have only minor impacts on the way that the City uses property taxes to support other services, such as parks, roads and social services.
What other municipalities use a stormwater utility model?
The stormwater utility model is quickly becoming best practice in many Canadian municipalities. Within the region, for example, St. Albert, Leduc, Stony Plain, Edmonton and Devon all fund stormwater services through a user fee model.
Stormwater Network FAQs
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rain and melted snow that flows over the ground surface. In undeveloped natural areas, stormwater is absorbed by plants and soil, or finds its way back to ponds and streams. However, in urban centres, hard surfaces like sidewalks, paved areas and rooftops prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground naturally.
What does a stormwater system do?
A stormwater network protects water quality and reduces the risk of flooding that could damage your property and the environment. During rain or snow melt in a natural or more rural environment, approximately 90 per cent of the runoff will evaporate back into the atmosphere or be absorbed into the ground; only 10 per cent will remain on the surface as stormwater.
When it comes to managing stormwater, what is the City responsible for?
The City’s responsibility involves:
- Testing the quality of stormwater before it enters streams and creeks;
- Inspecting stormwater outlets to ensure there are no blockages to water flow;
- Maintaining and repairing over 100 kilometres of pipe that make up the public drainage system to prevent backups and counteract the impact of spills;
- Finding solutions for cleaning stormwater ponds in the city; and
- Street sweeping to remove debris before it reaches streams.
A variety of regulatory agencies, such as Alberta Environment, Parks and Fisheries, and Oceans Canada hold the City accountable for how it manages stormwater.
Stormwater utility background and timeline
- Oct. 1, 2020: Stormwater utility goes into effect
- Sept. 14, 2020: Third reading of the Fees and Charges bylaw.
- Aug. 17, 2020: Third reading of the Municipal Utility Services bylaw.
- March 2020: Stormwater utility fee delayed due to impacts of COVID-19 on economy
- March 2020: Non-statutory public hearing and second reading of the Utility Bylaw Amendment
- February 2020: City proposes utility fee to fund stormwater management
- February 2020: First reading of Utility Bylaw Amendment
- February 2020: Report on Stormwater Management presented to Committee of the Whole
- November 2018: Stormwater utility introduced as a funding model in 2019–2021 Corporate Plan