Municipalities such as the City and County of Honolulu are required by federal and state environmental protection laws to effectively manage the City’s storm drainage systems. This ensures compliance with regulatory permits that minimizes the pollution effect of storm water runoff to receiving waters such as streams, rivers, bays and the ocean.
Currently, to manage and maintain these programs and services the City & County government utilizes a budgeted portion of the Real Property Tax revenues paid by residential and business property owners. Federal and state facilities who are non-taxable do not pay these property tax and may not pay for these provided services.
The City is seeking shared financial responsibility of the services.
Under a new proposed plan, which is moving forward in the City & County government a new separate storm, water runoff utility program will be initiated tentatively scheduled to begin in 2022. They are seeking to generate a 40–100 Million dollar fund. This new utility will fund a storm water management program through the Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM). Real Property Tax revenues would no longer support these services. Current recommendation for the utility will be based on square footage of storm water runoff surface area of a property. The more concrete and impervious surfaces on the property the higher the utility. For the median residential property owner on Oahu, with a property of 3,900 SF, that fee would be between $11.88-$16.19/month. Commercial property owners will be charged significantly more.
How can you learn more about this new tax initiative?
Go to the City and County web site https://www.stormwaterutilityoahu.org/ and learn about the ongoing community meetings, storm water runoff program information, frequently asked questions and more. Stay informed and tell others about this new initiative.
What can you do to reduce your storm water runoff before the new utility is in effect? Learn more about rain gardens, catchment systems, and erosion control low impact development projects here.
By: Jeffery Harris, HOK Board of Directors President
Update: A previous version of this post called the utility fee a tax.
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.