With the acute inadequacies in the City’s stormwater system coming sharply into focus in the last two years, it has become apparent that when the City introduced the Storm Water Use Fee in 2018 it cynically and quietly moved personnel costs from the general fund to this new income stream. With almost one-fourth of the fee ($3.2 million in FY 22), it is hardly surprising that we have seen virtually no visible progress in addressing Alexandria’s residential flooding problems.
Even with doubling the fee, only limited progress will be made in addressing the massive problems that the City is facing in modernizing and expanding the capacity of the storm water system. A major reason is that $52.5 million of the funds raised will go for personnel costs.
I am opposed to doubling the Storm Water Use Fee, unless all personnel costs for T&ES are paid out of the general budget. Yes, this will necessitate finding economies elsewhere in the budget, but the City government has long avoided going on a serious financial diet.
Given the proposed doubling in fees, the City needs to establish a citizenry oversight board on expenditures for this fund with robust powers.
If you agree, I hope you will either write to the City Council or sign up to speak at its Jan. 26 meeting.