Attributes to Withstand Legal Challenges

Among the more than 1,700 stormwater utilities across the United States, legal challenges typically fall into two categories: 

  1. whether the locality or entity has adequate authority to enact, implement, and fund the utility, and
  2. whether the fee structure is fair, exhibiting a clear nexus between the services provided and the fee charged.

In New Jersey, the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act was specifically enacted to authorize our communities to create a utility and charge fees to support stormwater management activities. Thus, the legality on that count should garner few challenges. As a result, how a community structures its fee system will likely bear the most legal scrutiny.  

In order to ensure that your utility is optimally defensible, it should exhibit the following attributes:   

For more information on legal challenges, see NACWA, “Navigating Litigation Floodwaters: Legal Considerations for Funding Municipal Stormwater Programs” (2014), WEF: User-Fee-Funded Stormwater Programs (2013), and the legal section of our Resources page here.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Readers, users, or browsers of this site should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed.

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