The Stormwater Task Force was created by City Council in October 2019. View the charter document here. The group will update the list of priority projects for stormwater improvements in the adopted Watershed Management Plan.
The task force is expected to meet four times from December through February, with a presentation to City Council in March 2020:
Meeting #1: Organizational Matters (December)
Review the Task Force Charter which sets out the purpose and term of the Task Force.
Review data available about the City stormwater system and past flooding events.
Review and concur with the identified focus areas of study for flood mitigation.
Review and find consensus on the proposed approach and work plan for the Task Force.
Meeting #2 (January)
Establish a set of weighted criteria for grading proposed future stormwater projects.
Meeting #3 (January/February)
Review the data provided by the City Engineer for each of the study areas. This will include options for stormwater improvements and the resulting flooding profiles for the 2 year and ten year rain event; cost estimates for these options; and other data required for the project scoring.
Conduct the project scoring based on the criteria developed in Meeting #2.
Meeting #4 (February)
Review and analyze the results of the project scoring.
Finalize recommendations on project scoring.
The City Council adopted the City’s Watershed Management Plan (WMP) in February 2012. This Plan sets out citywide goals and policies with respect to streams, groundwater, and the stormwater system. Section 5 of this Plan prioritizes stormwater improvement projects to mitigate flood damage, repair and replace stormwater infrastructure, and comply with federal mandates to improve water quality that flows into City streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Many of those projects are now complete.
Why This is Important Now
In the past two years, the City has experienced heavy rains that resulted in extensive flooding and damage to property. Climate scientists predict that our warming climate will result in more frequent extreme weather events, including heavy rainfall.
Also, the WMP was created in 2012, and many of the projects listed are now complete. It is time to reassess the project list.
The group will focus on helping the City as a whole improve the impact of heavy rain for all residents. The report presented to City Council as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 Capital Improvements Program will prioritize projects in order of the most cost-effective stormwater improvements that will protect the most people.
The City Council will have the final say on funding the improvements. Stormwater projects are expensive, and staff anticipates that in order to proceed, bonds will need to be issued by the City. The debt service on these bonds would be covered by an increase to the Stormwater Utility Fee. These important financing decisions will be made in the context of budget adoption in April 2020.