On February 24, 2017, the City mailed ballots to Palo Alto property owners requesting that they vote on whether to continue the fee which funds the City's Storm Water Management Program. If the Storm Water Management Fee is approved by a majority of Palo Alto property owners, then effective June 1, 2017, the Fee for a typical home would be approximately $13.65 per month, an increase of 62 cents per month. If the Fee is not approved by a majority of Palo Alto property owners, it will revert to its pre-2005 level of $4.25 per month on June 1, 2017.
The Storm Water Management Program funds routine storm water system maintenance and operations that keep the infrastructure clean and at peak performance, and provides for storm water system improvements that prevent street flooding. The Program also provides litter reduction, creek pollution prevention programs, commercial and residential rebates, and flooding emergency-response services.
Since 2005, the city’s Storm Water Management Program has funded seven high-priority storm drain pipeline and pump station projects, street improvements, and more than 100 green infrastructure rebates to reduce pollution and flooding. Most of the city’s storm water systems are 40 to 100 years old, and current engineering standards require storm water systems to handle "10 year storms," which Palo Alto’s current system cannot meet in many areas. The result is that even moderate storms can lead to street flooding and increased property damage.
“More than half of the fee revenues go toward construction, improvement and maintenance of our storm management systems. This has included a new pump station for San Francisquito Creek,” said Public Works Director Mike Sartor. “That has helped to protect neighborhoods and communities from street flooding.”
Projects funded by the fee will include new storm water inlets, pipes, pumps and the maintenance of these structures which get rainfall off streets quickly. The existing fee paid for new storm drain pipes along Channing Avenue in 2011, which reduced street flooding along this important vehicle and bike corridor. Combined with other regional flood control efforts along the San Francisquito Creek, these efforts reduce the overall flood risk to the community.
Ballots must be received by the City of Palo Alto’s Office of the City Clerk no later than April 11, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. (return postage paid envelopes are included in the ballot). Ballots received after the deadline, even if postmarked April 11, cannot be accepted. If you have not received your ballot in the mail yet, please contact the Office of the City Clerk at (650) 329-2571.
For more information, or to learn more about the projects and services funded with the Storm Water Management Fee, please go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/stormwaterfee.