Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Damp the Stormwater Fees

The Alexandria City Council is rushing to double the annual stormwater fees on Feb. 20 to $280 for the typical single-family homeowner by 2022, and then nearly double that to $540 by 2031.

That would make Alexandria’s stormwater fees the second highest in the nation after Seattle, which has more than 200 miles of coastline. Alexandria has only a few miles of shoreline along the Potomac River.

By doubling and tripling the fees, Alexandria anticipates raising $484.8 million by 2031.

The proposal is a terrible idea.

Alexandria has already squandered 40 percent of the $20 million in fees since 2018 on staff salaries of the Transportation and Environmental Services department instead of addressing flooding. Doubling the fees will double the slush fund, letting the T&ES department hire 12 more people and divert another $61.4 million— 24 percent of the fees over the decade.

Since T&ES lacks heavy machinery and typically contracts the work to private companies to repair and build drains, culverts and bypasses, there is no justification for padding its payroll.

Moreover, Alexandria is not even committing to undertake the 11 biggest construction projects for several years.

That’s why we’re asking that the city council postpone voting on the proposal.

We want the city to hold public hearings, provide residents with a complete list of areas that flood and their projected cost of repairs, use the money only to combat flooding, and set up a truly independent citizens’ board with the authority to hold the city accountable for taxpayers’ money.

Vineeta Anand, George Demetriades, Linda Holland, Leslie Hagan, Gail Gordon Donegan, Mike Welther, Barbara Fried, Mary Ann Ring, Barbara Mancini and Jane Seward

Alexandria

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