Storm Water Utility Fee

The storm water utility fee generates revenue to fund the City’s storm water management program.  The program describes specific actions needed to manage storm water quality and quantity in the city.

The City developed the storm water utility fee amount by applying specific rates to City zoning classifications.  For example, all property parcels within zoning category SF-2 (Single Family 2) are billed $6.21, while parcels within SF-3 are charged $5.24.

A more detailed description of the new utility fee is provided below in question-and-answer format.

Frequently asked Questions
Regarding the Storm Water Utility Fee

What is this charge on my water bill?!
That is the storm water utility fee, which was approved by the University Park City Council in December 2003.  The fee is designed to raise money to pay for federal- and state-required improvements to the city’s storm water, meaning any water that goes down the storm drain and ultimately into Turtle Creek and the Trinity River.

What is impermeable or impermeable surface?
“Impermeable” refers to hard surfaces, such as concrete or roofs, that do not allow water to permeate or infiltrate them.  Impermeable surfaces result in runoff, meaning water that drains off a piece of property and goes elsewhere.

How was this fee amount determined?
The storm water utility fee is based on an approximate amount of impermeable surface for properties of the same zoning classification.  For residential parcels, separate rates were developed for each zoning classification. 

An average residential unit (in this case, Single Family 4 zoning) was used as the basis for the fees.  The proposed rate was divided by the average impervious area of the parcels in this class to determine the rate per square foot of impervious area.  The resulting cost per square foot was used to set the other rate classes.

Residential rates are based upon specific classes of residential land use, and each class is billed its own flat rate.

Nonresidential customers are billed based upon the maximum allowable impermeable area for that property under local development regulations.

The proposed residential rate structure is as follows.  Duplex and multi-family properties will be billed on a per unit basis.

Residential Monthly Rate
Zoning Class Monthly Rate
Single Family 1 $21.39
Single Family 2 $6.78
Single Family 3 $5.72
Single Family 4 $5.30
Single Family Attached $4.24
Duplex District 1 $4.29
Duplex District 2 $3.12
Multi-Family $1.48

Nonresidential (i.e., commercial) properties are assessed $0.001177 per square foot of the maximum allowable impermeable area for their property.

How do I know what my zoning classification is?
A zoning map can be found by clicking here

Who approved the fee?
The City Council approved the fee after extensive review by the Public Works and Finance Advisory Committees, City staff, and engineering consultants.  Articles in the City newsletter and a public hearing in December 2003 preceded final adoption by the Council.

What is the resulting revenue used for?
The fee's revenue is used to implement the City’s storm water management program.  The program includes storm water or drainage capital projects; operational costs, such as maintenance of storm sewers, ponds, and streams; and support for environmental compliance programs.

Why did the City establish the storm water utility?
Before the fee, the City used general tax revenues to support its storm water efforts.  This pulls money away from projects and programs in other departments.  Like many other Texas communities, the City is required to comply with the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Phase II program for Municipal Separate Storm Systems (MS4s).  Many north Texas cities have had a storm water utility fee in place for years.

What is the advantage of a storm water utility charge over property taxes as a source of funding?
The City can generate funds in a more equitable manner.  The utility fee allows the City to levy a charge that is proportional to the cost of storm water service for that property.  In contrast, with general taxes, each property owner pays the same percentage of their property tax rate to support the storm water program, regardless of the amount of runoff their property generates.  Under this approach, some entities also benefit from storm water services but pay nothing.

What is involved in storm water management?
Storm water management involves control of storm water quantity and quality.  Storm water quantity management focuses on managing the volume or amount of storm water as well as the speed of runoff resulting from various storms.  Storm water quality management focuses on the prevention of water pollution by requiring best management practices for various activities, including construction.

Municipalities and utility districts utilize best management practices, including development policies, capital projects to construct storm water sewers, ditches, and basins, and operational practices to ensure storm water management.  The goals of these efforts are improved drainage, prevention of flood damage, and improved water quality.

For more information, contact:

  • 214-987-5326 Tom Tvardzik, Director of Finance
  • 214-987-5447 Jodie Ledat, Operations Coordinator
  • 214-987-5400 Jacob Speer, Director of Public Works