On February 7, 2022, the concept of a stormwater utility was first introduced to the public and the newly sworn-in City Council. Since then, there have been several guiding documents presented to and adopted by City Council to assist City staff in forming a utility dedicated to the operation, maintenance, regulatory compliance, and improvement of Lewiston's stormwater drainage system.
Read on for information on the Stormwater User Fee Study, Ordinance No. 4882, Resolution 2023-50, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit, and an interactive timeline of the utility's public education and outreach in 2023!
Stormwater User Fee Study
In 2017, Aspect Consulting ("Aspect") was selected to completed a Stormwater Capital Master Plan and documentation upon which a future stormwater utility would be solidly founded. The agreement with Aspect was split into two phases:
|Focus on the evaluation and data collection necessary to prepare capital and utility management plans, cost estimates, and to identify key utility characteristics.
|Focus on the utility business plan, ordinance preparation, and public meetings necessary to implement a future stormwater utility.
The Stormwater Master Plan (PDF), adopted by City Council in 2021, provides an overview and analysis of the stormwater system condition recorded since 2001, provides additional system improvement recommendations based off the pipeline condition assessment, and serves as an update to the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) established in the original 2001 master plan.
On April 18, 2022, Aspect presented the Stormwater User Fee Study (PDF) to City Council. This study would serve as the guiding document to assist staff in forming a future stormwater utility. The study is broken into three documents:
- Stormwater Fee Basis Rate Structure and Policy Memorandum (PDF) is a guide for the finalization and adoption of user fees for stormwater drainage system services in the City of Lewiston.
- Stormwater Management Program Plan (PDF) is a technical memorandum developed to inventory, document, and review the City's existing stormwater management program; identify necessary changes and enhancements to the City's stormwater management program to comply with federal and state regulatory requirements; estimate the cost of a compliant stormwater program; and provide a roadmap, schedule and checklist to guide implementation of an updated stormwater program.
- Stormwater Program Funding Alternatives and Business Plan (PDF) is a financial plan which supports the development and implementation of a regulatory, compliance-based stormwater management program.
The Stormwater User Fee Study (PDF) was adopted by City Council on April 25, 2022.
Ordinance No. 4882
On May 10, 2023, staff brought Ordinance No. 4882 to the newly formed Public Works Advisory Commission's (PWAC) second meeting for discussion and feedback.
On May 22, 2023, the Public Hearing and First Reading of Ordinance No. 4882 was held.
On January 4, 2023, staff provided City Council with a progress update and findings from meetings with impacted agencies including Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston School District, Port of Lewiston, Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District, Nez Perce County, and the Idaho Transportation Department. The six (6) utility rate options first presented in August 2022 were brought before City Council again for feedback; none was given and staff proceeded with the fully funded rate as previously directed.
On June 27, 2023, the Public Works Department fiscal year 2024 budget proposal included estimated revenue and expenses for the Stormwater Drainage System Utility. The utility rate option first directed by City Council to pursue in August 2022 was included in this presentation.
On August 1, 2023, the Public Information Office published the City of Lewiston's fiscal year 2024 City Budget Guide which included a two-page spread on the proposed rates and the necessity of the utility; the proposed rates maintained the direction provided by City Council in August 2022. The hotline provided callers with the option to listen to an automated message explaining the utility and notified them of the date, time, and location of the August 14, 2023 Public Hearing for the proposed rates.
On August 14, 2023, City Council held a Public Hearing to receive testimony on the proposed Stormwater Drainage System Services user fees in Resolution 2023-43. Adjustments for all utility (Water, Sewer, Sanitation, and Stormwater Drainage System) service fees are established by resolution of the City Council and are based on operation and maintenance costs and planned Capital Improvements for each utility. The fees, rates, and charges are collected and deposited into each utility's corresponding Enterprise Fund.
Following testimony during the Public Hearing, City Council amended the proposed user fees in Resolution 2023-43 for a reduced rate. As this amendment was made in real time, Utility Billing staff was not able to advise City Council that the City's utility billing software (known as Munis) requires all fees to be even numbers due to the system's inability to calculate non-integers.
On August 21, 2023, City Council approved Resolution 2023-50 (PDF) which amended Resolution 2023-43 to reduce the "Service Area 2 Fee per ERU - Utility Assistance Program" monthly user fee by $0.01 in order to comply with Munis. All other provisions of Resolution 2023-43 remain in place and were not adjusted.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the City of Lewiston and Lewis Clark State College the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit which became effective on November 1, 2020.
Please visit the dedicated MS4 page for more information.