Brookhaven to increase fees for stormwater, streetlights

The city of Brookhaven will increase stormwater and streetlight fees to cover rising operation and maintenance costs.

The $107 stormwater fee per household is no longer covering the number of projects the city needs to complete, according to a presentation by Public Works Director Tom Roberts at the May 14 Brookhaven City Council meeting.

City staff is recommending the base fee be increased to $112, plus a new $30/ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit) charge to cover a $6 million stormwater bond. The $30 fee will sunset in seven years.

“We have been trying for quite some time to stay caught up with our high-priority projects, and continue to fall behind because we have new emergencies come up,” Roberts said.

Stormwater emergencies, typically system failures that lead to flooding, detract from the project list and dip into the budget, Roberts said.

A list of 29 stormwater projects was issued in 2022 including the rehabilitation of Murphey Candler Lake spillway and Drew Valley Road drainage improvements. Only 14 projects been completed on the list

Mayor John Park said what’s being proposed is “just a start of addressing our needs.”

“[City Council members] instructed staff to restructure our stormwater to not only make it more equitable, but to also generate more revenue,” Park said. “We’re going to have to raise fees.”

As the city has grown, homes have grown larger while remaining on the same size lot. The lot sizes have much less impervious area now as opposed to the 1950s homes, said Deputy City Manager Steve Chapman.

Chapman said streetlight district fees will increase for the first time since cityhood was established. The rate structure may be changing in 2025.

“We’re going to make it equitable,” said Chapman.

City council members will likely vote on the fees at the May 28 meeting.

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