Stormwater Enterprise Development

The Town of Tewksbury retained Weston & Sampson to evaluate its stormwater needs and assist in developing a dedicated stormwater funding mechanism. As part of this effort, the town’s current and future stormwater management practices and associated program costs were assessed. Weston & Sampson developed a comprehensive implementation plan outlining the requirements and costs for the town to comply with the 2016 MS4 permit over the next 10 years. We also developed planning-level costs for the design, permitting, and construction required to remedy culvert and critical drainage infrastructure deficiencies, and localized flooding problems. In addition to capital improvement projects and MS4 permit compliance activities, Weston & Sampson worked with the town to evaluate and summarize costs for the routine operation and maintenance of its drainage infrastructure.

To determine how potential user fees may be calculated under a stormwater utility, Weston & Sampson obtained parcel-specific information from MassGIS, including town land use, zoning, and tax assessor’s information. Using May 2016 aerial imagery available from MassGIS, we developed a GIS feature class to describe the impervious surface on 1,620 residential and non-residential parcels throughout town. For single family residential parcels, a sample size was selected that was representative of the larger population. Surfaces greater than 10 square feet in contiguous area were included as part of the delineation.

Weston & Sampson examined how user fees may be calculated by the town based on the information available and assigned to individual parcels. We examined different alternatives such as correlating user fees to the amount of impervious area on a particular parcel and/or the zoning/land use classification for a particular parcel. Weston & Sampson also reviewed and analyzed potential billing rates for the stormwater utility based on the current and future costs of the town’s stormwater management program. We correlated the town’s stormwater program costs with the billing rates to balance the level of funding need with reasonable user rate fees.

Weston & Sampson also developed a Recommended Plan of Action that includes information on how the stormwater utility will operate from an administrative/organizational standpoint, as well as outlining potential abatements or reductions in the stormwater fee paid by property owners for treating and/or infiltrating stormwater on site. Weston & Sampson assisted the town in educating town officials, residents, and the local community regarding the importance of stormwater management and the need for a dedicated funding source to comply with the new permit and other infrastructure needs through attendance at various public meetings. The Stormwater Enterprise Fund was approved at the Fall Town Meeting in 2019.

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