WINCHESTER, Va – On September 23, Winchester residents gathered at Rouss City Hall for a workshop on the City's Stormwater Improvement Program. The Stormwater Improvement Program facilitates developing and maintaining the City's aging stormwater-related infrastructure to prevent flooding, improve water quality, and mitigate costly natural disasters.
On April 12, 2023, the Winchester City Council voted to establish the Stormwater Utility Fee to provide a sustainable funding source for the Stormwater Improvement Program. Winchester will join 29 other Virginia localities that charge a stormwater-related fee in January 2024, when the Fee will be added to property owners' utility bills as a supplemental charge. The Fee will be based on the property's total impervious surface square footage and will be applied equally to all properties in the City, including typically tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
The Stormwater Improvement Program and related Stormwater Utility Fee are critical components of the City's strategy to manage increasing unfunded federal and state stormwater-related mandates. By proactively funding and implementing stormwater improvement projects, the City will improve the quality of City infrastructure and waterways and better control future budgetary outlays.
A rendering of one of the wet ponds to be built along Kent St., just north of Baker St., between Elk and Kern Streets. Click here to download the image.
The City will use funds raised through the Stormwater Utility Fee for stormwater improvement projects, starting with the construction of four wet ponds to retain stormwater runoff and aesthetically improve the North Cameron and North Kent Streets area. By the end of 2024, ten additional stormwater capital improvement projects throughout the City should be underway. The Stormwater Utility Fee will only fund City operations or initiatives that are part of the Stormwater Improvement Program.
Residents can apply to lower their stormwater utility bill by up to 50 percent by installing rain barrels or rain gardens, planting trees, signing a "No Fertilizer Pledge," or participating in the City's "Pickup Parties." Visit winchesterva.gov/stormwater for more information on stormwater credits and Stormwater Utility Fee-funded project updates. Residents can also call (540) 773-1340 if they have questions or would like an evaluation of their impervious surface square footage.