Examining Your Capital and Operating Budget

To confirm the scope of the existing stormwater management program and to foresee future needs, a locality must closely examine it’s stormwater management plan, if one exists, as well as its existing capital and operating budgets. Though commonalities exist, the analysis will be somewhat unique to each locality. These documents will provide detailed information on current stormwater management-related spending. 

The stormwater management plan takes a long-term view of the infrastructure, maintenance, and public education services recommended over a planning period of three to five years, including organizational responsibilities and an implementation schedule. Though a strategic budget/planning document may provide some of this information, having such a plan is key to garnering public support and justifying the need for action.

Stormwater-related capital investments, including drainage and collection system upgrades and green infrastructure, are often embedded within other infrastructure projects, such as road reconstruction and utility upgrades. Both stand-alone and embedded projects should be identified to provide a complete view. 

Similarly, the operating budget also is likely to require cost allocation of salary and benefit costs, as employees in the local department of public works and similar agencies rarely work solely on stormwater functions. Equipment maintenance, contracted services, illicit discharge detection, debt service, legal expenses, administrative, general operating expenses, permit administration, and public education costs are also common elements. Attention should also be paid to related ancillary programs, such as hazardous waste collection and open space.

When comparing current spending to anticipated future needs, close attention should also be paid to regulatory requirements, including the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, NJPDES permits issued to localities and, for communities with combined sewer systems, the combined sewer overflow permit issued by the NJDEP.  

See here for more information on reconstructing your existing operating and capital spending.

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