Attributes to Withstand Legal Challenges
Among the more than 1,700 stormwater utilities across the United States, legal challenges typically fall into two categories:
- whether the locality or entity has adequate authority to enact, implement, and fund the utility, and
- 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.
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