The New Jersey Municipal Management Association (NJMMA) recently held their “Relief After the Rain” seminar with speaker Brianne Callahan who is a Stormwater Manager at New Jersey Future. As a Stormwater Manager, Callahan works to help local governments and utilities create stormwater utilities more affordably and effectively to reduce flooding and improve water quality.

In this session, the conversation was focused on how the locality estimates if the stormwater utility would make sense to implement, how much money the utility typically costs, and if there are any ways that residents can reduce their fees.

Callahan states that there are about 1716 stormwater utilities in the U.S. as of 2019 and that NJ’s law allows but does not require the local government to establish them. If established, stormwater utilities must collect fees based on the amount of stormwater a property generates. These utilities can be established by municipalities, counties, groups in municipalities, and sewerage and improvement authorities.

“It's important to know that no new infrastructure has to be created.” Brianne Callahan said “The user fee can be implemented by existing infrastructure which would actually be the best and most beneficial because it would provide cost savings.”

Callahan mentioned that there are eight key milestones for implementation. Those eight milestones include, vetting the concept with local officials, establishing a core team, engaging the mayor or county executive, authorizing a feasible study to identify the best options for the community, ongoing outreach activities, “go” or “no go” decision, implementation, and the final launch.

Some major potential stakeholders could be Major commercial employers major industrial employer, major malls, school districts, colleges, Churches, homeowners associations, environmental groups, chamber of commerce, real estate companies, apartment management groups, and citizen advocates.

Lastly, Callahan articulated that the volume of benefits are extensive. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to building critical infrastructure, improving your environment, funding your future, and supporting economic development in your community.