Do You Need a Different Structure and More Resources?
Having the proper organizational structure and adequate funding are key elements in responding to any local problem, and that is certainly true of stormwater.
Responsibility for flooding and water quality issues is often decentralized across multiple local agencies (e.g., public works, health) or between municipal government and an independent sewerage authority. While it is not necessary to centralize all stormwater-related functions in a single organization to be successful, a fragmented approach makes it difficult to identify comprehensive solutions. It is important to establish clear lines of authority and responsibility.
Revenue-wise, local governments have been buffeted on several fronts in recent years. Much of the available revenue from the property tax, the primary local funding source, is typically set aside for priority programs such as education and law enforcement, and annual revenue growth is capped at two percent by state law. Due to the recession of 2008, local aid from the State of New Jersey for municipal programs has dropped by 14 percent since fiscal year 2007. Meanwhile, average property values have declined and remain 14 percent lower than their peak mark prior to the recession.¹ The combined impact has hamstrung local budgets, leaving programs such as stormwater management to compete for a dwindling pool of remaining funds.
To learn more about how a stormwater utility can raise new revenues, see here.