The proposed storm water drainage fee would apply to to vacant lot owners
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed a tax on storm water for vacant lot owners. Currently, the owners of vacant lots are exempt from wastewater fees, but the commission wants to leverage a tax for the treatment of storm water runoff from the California city’s approximately 500 vacant lots. PUC will hold a meeting April 10, 2018, to discuss the potential tax and if approved the tax will go into effect on July 1.
The proposed fee would be a flat rate of $31.46 per month, equalling $377 annually, for each lot. According to a notice by PUC General Manager Harlan Kelly Jr., the bill represents the average cost existing customers pay for storm water treatment. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, while vacant lots are the first to be targeted for this fee, the increased fee could impact households and commercial properties later on.
Other cities such as Seattle, Portland and Washington, D.C., charge storm water drainage fees with Seattle racking in $121 million in 2016 from the fee alone. If implemented, San Francisco hopes to use the funds to improve the storm water and wastewater system.