Colchester's Clean Water Initiative & Stormwater Management
Colchester has a long tradition of preserving and protecting its water resources for future generations. The Town's new stormwater utility is a key component of the Town’s overall Clean Water Initiative.
In 2009, the Town received a $1.5 million federal grant to study water quality issues in Colchester. This four year study, known as the Integrated Water Resources Management Plan, included sixteen public meetings and produced several key recommendations. One of those recommendations was to create and adopt a Stormwater Utility as outlined in the Stormwater Utility Feasibility Study.
The Colchester Select Board voted in April 2017 to create a Stormwater Utility. A Stormwater Utility is very similar to a water or sewer utility. The utility takes care of the community’s stormwater system, and charges all properties a user fee based upon the amount of stormwater they create. The amount of stormwater created is based on how much impervious surface there is on a property, though all properties pay a fee even if vacant.
A citizen based group known as the Stormwater Advisory Committee, (SWAC) was formed in 2015 to guide the creation of a utility. The SWAC consists of eleven Colchester residents from diverse backgrounds and interests representing business, institutions, environmental, and residences. The SWAC has worked with Town Staff over the past eighteen months - Their work began with the development of a Purpose and Need Statement, and was followed by a total of Ten Meetings over the past eighteen months.
The Town of Colchester is a member of the Chittenden County Regional Stormwater Education Program. This regional organization focuses on public education and outreach for stormwater management throughout Chittenden County. Their outreach materials include a video entitled After the Storm which provides a basic understanding of stormwater issues.
The Town has developed a number of educational materials to inform and educate Colchester residents about the stormwater utility under. This includes an Informational Flyer that was mailed to every property in Colchester, along with Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed stormwater utility.
The Select Board created the utility by adopting a new Stormwater Ordinance following a public hearing process. The proposed ordinance will include by reference a Stormwater User Fee Credit Manual which allows for credits to be issued to non-single family residential properties as defined within the proposed ordinance. You can view the presentation to the Select Board by Town Staff by clicking here: Stormwater Utility.
Those properties defined in the ordinance as Single Family Properties shall pay a flat fee of $52.39 per year, or about $4.36 per month. For a home currently assessed at $275,000, the annual costs will be slightly less under the utility then previous charges under the property tax system. For properties defined in the ordinance as Non-single Family Properties, the costs will vary from one property to another, depending upon the assessed value and amount of impervious surface on the property. A Searchable User Cost Database can be used to identify all of the current and future stormwater costs for every property in Colchester. With questions about this database, please contact Karen Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 264-5621.
Note - For best results, we recommend downloading the database, and opening it in Adobe Acrobat Reader or another PDF viewer, rather than within your web browser. Acrobat Reader is available for free download for most platforms here.
Searchable User Costs Database Disclaimer: Each individual property in Town is listed separately in the database. If you own multiple properties you will need to search for each of your properties to total your costs. At this time, the database is only current to July 1, 2016. If a property has changed ownership since July 1, 2016, it will still be listed under the prior owner until the next regular update is completed. If you are a resident of Colchester, yet rent and do not own property in Colchester, you will not find your name in the database. The database lists only the legal owners of each property. The database does not include mobile home owners who resides in mobile home parks.