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Cville Stormwater Utility Manager Talks Options for Lowering Bil - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cville Stormwater Utility Manager Talks Options for Lowering Bill

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -

The first round of stormwater utility fees hit mailboxes in Charlottesville this month.

Charlottesville's Stormwater Utility Manager Dan Sweet said he received 45 phone calls in two days from people upset about the new fee – but he says there are ways to cut down on the cost.

One way is for a homeowner to install their own storm water management facility. Sweet said this can cut costs by 20 percent to 100 percent. It might not be cost efficient for a typical residential property though, as it can cost up to $50,000 to install. Sweet said for a commercial property, it's more likely to pay itself off over time.

Another way to cut down on the fee is to reduce impervious areas on a property. Homeowners can do this by ridding their property of asphalt areas, like large driveways.

"They're wondering if they really need that six-car asphalt driveway for their 1200-square foot home," Sweet said. "If they remove that and return it to turf and it reduces them below a billing unit threshold, that will result in a lower bill."

The average single-family residential stormwater utility bill is $40 to $70 a year, which ends up being a $20 to $25 bill every six months. The city is offering an incentives program that provides a one-time cost share for home owners interested in water stewardship measures. Those include replacing turf with native plants and installing rain gardens.

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