HUDSON – Hudson residents learned on Sept. 19 how to get stormwater credits of either 20% or 40% off of their stormwater bills at a meeting held by the Department of Public Works.
The credits are possible following approval at the annual Town Meeting.
At Town Meeting, Article 1 added a new section of “stormwater utility” to Hudson’s bylaws. The goal was to establish a stormwater management program that would help maintain the 107 culverts, 224 outfalls and 3,436 catch basins in town that must be cleaned.
The meeting on Sept. 19, DPW Director Eric Ryder explained, was to also “get input back from the residents.” The final rate analysis would be set in October. A first review and final approval of the fees would be voted on by the Hudson Select Board at its Oct. 16 and 30 meetings.
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The billing system would be set up from October to November with the billing coming in November.
“We really started to focus our discussion around credits,” said consultant Woodard and Curran’s Richard Niles.
For Hudson, $875,000 of the total $1.1 million program consists of fixed costs to maintain culverts and catch basins.
“We don’t have a ton of fluff in this program,” said Niles.
Niles noted that what is estimated is the property’s use of stormwater that comes from the road. He said the “primary driver for stormwater runoff is impervious surfaces,” such as driveways and other hard surfaces.
He explained that the more impervious surface on a property, the more stormwater is generated, such as a commercial property parking lot. According to Niles, there are two tiers – $99 yearly for properties with less impervious surface, which constitutes 80% of the properties in Hudson, and $139 yearly for properties with a larger amount of impervious surface.
The smaller fee is assessed for properties with 500 to 5,000 square feet of impervious surface. If the range of the amount of impervious surface is in the 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot range, the $139 fee is applied.
A credit is recognized as an ongoing reduction in a property’s calculated stormwater fee that is given for actions that reduce the impact of stormwater on a property, Niles said.
According to Niles, the town has assumed that some of the revenue generated will be given back in the form of credits.
What is beneficial about the approach is that differences in properties can be addressed with these credits, he noted. The cost of dealing with stormwater impact can be counteracted with the credit.
Niles said if an owner maintains a system properly and proves they have met the criteria of cleaning the impervious area annually, the owner can earn a credit. Usually, this is done through contractor invoices and photos of the work.
He believed that a 20% credit was “reasonable” since 80% of the program cost was fixed. What was being proposed was a 40% credit if a property meets the current design standards, and the owner can demonstrate calculations in engineering analysis.
He said, “If you have a system that was built to some design standard, even it’s not 2008 we’re going to give you 20%. So you don’t have to go through a lengthy and costly application process.”
Niles said private communities like WestRidge Condominiums, The Villages at Quail Run and Sauta Farm Condominiums that are on larger parcels will reap more benefits with stormwater mitigation and qualify for an automatic 20% credit. They could also apply for the additional 20%.
An attendee noted that the 20% for single-family properties would be only $20 of the $99 fee. Niles explained the credit was more substantial for the second tier. He said that was the reason that smaller property owners usually did not apply for the 40% credit.
The entire presentation will be available online at the DPW page on the town website after the two initial Sept. 19 and 21 forums. For more information, visit www.townofhudson.org/department-public-works.