To comply with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Phase II permit and Underground Injection Control mandate requirements, in 2008 the City of Yakima began collecting a yearly stormwater assessment fee from each parcel containing impervious surfaces in the city limits of Yakima. Impervious surfaces are roofs, paved driveways, concrete patios, etc. that do not allow water to pass through. These surfaces collect pollutants, which then find their way to groundwater or are transported through a series of storm drain pipes directly to local streams or the Yakima River.

Yakima Municipal Code

7.80.100 Property classification for stormwater user’s fee.

As authorized by RCW Chapters 35.67 and 35.92, the city council finds that variations in the amount of impervious surface area contained on single-family residential parcels result in differences in the cost to serve such parcels and the burdens imposed on the system by such parcels. Therefore, residential customers of the stormwater system shall be divided into three classifications based upon the amount of impervious surfaces of their parcels: average single-family residences; large single-family residences; and small single-family residences.

(1)    Customer Classification. For purposes of determining the stormwater user fees, owners of all developed parcels in the city are classified into one of the following classes:

(a)    Average single-family residence;

(b)    Large single-family residence;

(c)    Small single-family residence;

(d)    Duplex, triplex and fourplex; and

(e)    Nonresidential parcel.

(2)    Average Single-Family Residence Fee. The stormwater fee for an average single-family residence shall equal the base rate.

(3)    Large Single-Family Residence Fee. The stormwater fee for a large single-family residence shall equal twice the base rate.

(4)    Small Single-Family Residence Fee. The stormwater fee for a small single-family residence shall equal one-half of the base rate.

(5)    Duplex, Triplex, and Fourplex Fee. The stormwater fee for a duplex, triplex and fourplex shall be determined using the same methodology as single-family residences, with the same designation and rate for average, large and small.

(6)    Nonresidential Fee. Owners of nonresidential parcels shall pay a stormwater fee equal to the base rate multiplied by the numerical factor obtained by dividing the total impervious surface area of the parcel by one ERU. The minimum stormwater fee for developed nonresidential parcels shall equal the base rate for average single-family residential property. (Ord. 2004-73 § 1 (part), 2004).

7.80.110 Base rate.

The base rate shall be calculated to provide adequate revenues to cover all costs allowable under applicable law that are incurred by the utility. The city council adopts the annual base rate as forty-three dollars for 2013 and 2014.

In years thereafter, the ongoing revenue requirements for the stormwater utility shall be reviewed and the annual base rates shall be adjusted or maintained as needed. The frequency of adjustments to base rates thereafter shall be as required to ensure fair and full funding of the program. (Ord. 2012-43 § 1, 2012: Ord. 2011-55 § 1, 2011: Ord. 2009-53 § 1, 2009: Ord. 2008-54 § 1, 2008: Ord. 2007-55 § 1, 2007: Ord. 2006-55 § 1 (part), 2006: Ord. 2005-62 § 1 (part), 2005: Ord. 2004-73 § 1 (part), 2004).

7.80.120 Adjustments to stormwater user’s fees.

Credits allowed under this section shall not be cumulative. Except for the first- and second-year credits that will be given to all commercial, industrial, and institutional parcels, credits or waivers must be granted by the engineer by October 15th of a given year in order for the credit or waiver to be in effect for the following billing year. Credits or waivers are not retroactive to current or prior billings and are only in effect for the next billing year. Credits or waivers may be in effect for multiple future billing years; provided, that ongoing qualifying criteria are met. The engineer will take such time as necessary to process requests for credits or waivers in an orderly fashion.

(A)    Credits for Qualified Stormwater Facilities. The city council recognizes that some parcel owners have constructed or will construct private on-site stormwater quality and quantity mitigation facilities, which when properly operated and maintained will aid the city in controlling the overall effects of stormwater pollution. Parcels or portions of parcels with facilities that meet one of the criteria listed below, to the engineer’s satisfaction, shall receive a reduction of twenty percent from the annual fee charged for that portion of the site draining to such facilities:

(1)    Any commercial/industrial/institutional parcel with a properly constructed and maintained stormwater facility that meets or exceeds the design requirements of the 2004 Department of Ecology Stormwater Management Manual for Eastern Washington or an equivalent design manual adopted by the city. Owners of subsurface stormwater infiltration systems shall provide evidence of compliance with the Washington State Underground Injection Control Program in order to receive the credit.

(2)    Any parcel that has an active and valid NPDES Industrial Stormwater Permit. A copy of the permit and the stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) shall be provided to the engineer.

The property owner is responsible for providing all documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with the above requirements. Documentation shall be by a licensed civil engineer with the state of Washington. In the event facilities or control measures address only a portion of the total parcel, the credit will be applied to only that affected portion. The customer must maintain any water quantity and/or quality control facility in accordance with Department of Ecology maintenance guidelines and appropriate practices to ensure proper function and effectiveness of the facility. Commercial/industrial/institutional parcel owners receiving credits shall agree to allow the city to periodically inspect the subject stormwater facilities. The city may request documentation from facility owners to verify that proper maintenance has been performed. The city may notify owners in writing of maintenance needs or deficiencies. Failure to maintain the facilities within thirty days after written notice may be cause for termination of the adjustment authorized by this section.

(B)    Credit for Rainwater Harvesting Systems. Upon review and approval by the engineer, owners of new or newly constructed commercial/industrial class buildings that utilize a properly constructed and maintained permissive rainwater harvesting system shall be eligible for a ten percent credit applied toward that portion of their stormwater charge arising from the building upon which the system is used. Customers desiring this credit shall apply to the engineer and shall submit engineering design and operational information as deemed necessary by the engineer to make their evaluation and decision. Rainwater harvesting and beneficial reuse of the runoff is found by the city council to both reduce the burden imposed upon the system by the building by reducing runoff and to also have other beneficial water quality effects such as reduced consumption of potable water.

(C)    Waiver of Utility Fees for Certain Property. The engineer shall waive stormwater and surface water utility fees for a parcel falling within the following special categories of property upon a showing that the parcel meets the following applicable criteria for so long as the criteria are met:

(1)    Fees shall be waived for city streets and street rights-of-way, since they act as stormwater conveyance facilities during large floods. The city streets fund also contributes to the proper operation, maintenance, repair, improvement, and construction of the street drainage system.

(2)    Fees shall be waived for state of Washington highway rights-of-way, so long as the state of Washington cooperates with the utility in the provision of services and maintains, constructs and improves all drainage facilities contained within such rights-of-way as required by the utility in conformance with all utility standards for maintenance, construction and improvement hereafter established by the utility and so far as such maintenance, construction and improvements shall be achieved at no cost to the utility or to the city.

(3)    Fees shall be waived for municipal, county, state and federal parks, fishing areas, wildlife reserves, public trails and bike paths so long as their owners cooperate with the utility in the provision of educational services and water quality control efforts. Fees shall be waived to the degree that such property owners offset the costs of the utility to manage the burdens imposed by such parcels. Parks, trails and bike paths have minimal intensity of impervious development and provide opportunities for natural resource education and development of an appreciation for water quality.

(4)    Fees shall be waived for all vacant/undeveloped parcels. The city council finds that such parcels generally have no improvements built on them, generate little to no traffic, utilize no chemicals, and generally are in a natural state, thereby imposing no burden upon the system and receiving no benefit from the utility’s services and facilities. Information that a property categorized as vacant or undeveloped is being used otherwise may result in a loss of this waiver. (Ord. 2008-54 § 2, 2008: Ord. 2007-55 § 2, 2007: Ord. 2004-73 § 1 (part), 2004).

7.80.130 Property tax payers to pay fees.

The property tax payer of each nonexempt parcel shall pay the stormwater user’s fee and charges as provided in this chapter. Property tax payers seeking adjustments or exemptions shall pay the full fee until such time that the adjustment or exemption is granted by the city. (Ord. 2007-55 § 3, 2007: Ord. 2004-73 § 1 (part), 2004).

For a complete listing of stormwater user’s fees please see 7.80 of the Yakima Municipal Code.