The City of Spruce Grove currently provides stormwater services to residents, businesses and other organizations within the City boundaries. The City’s stormwater network includes infrastructure and assets such as: stormwater management facilities (Ponds – dry and wet), culverts, open ditches, underground stormwater pipes, catch basins, manholes, etc. As with all assets (infrastructure) a planned lifecycle program is necessary to ensure the network is working correctly, being inspected and having regular maintenance and upgrades completed in a timely manner. The City currently funds this work through the general property taxes rather than a dedicated utility charge. Using the general property taxes as a source of funding means that the stormwater network competes with all other maintenance and funding needs of the City. As a result, the work that should be going into maintenance and lifecycle programs is not always completed and may be delayed. This is a risk to the City as a non-functioning stormwater network could result in flooding and as a result may cause damage to public and private properties and pose a threat to the safety of the public. This is amplified with the intensity of storms the region has witnessed in the last number of years.
In the spring of 2019, the City engaged CORVUS Business Advisors to research and provide a recommendation on how the City can ensure our stormwater network is funded so that stormwater issues are dealt with now and in the future. As a result a Stormwater Utility fee was proposed by CORVUS for the City of Spruce Grove. The Storm water Utility fee would ensure dedicated funding for the stormwater network hence ensuring that maintenance, upgrades and associated lifecycle work could be funded when needed (this is not currently being done within the City). Stormwater utility fees are currently being used by other municipalities within the region.
To implement a new Stormwater Utility fee an amendment to the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw was required. The amendment included adding a section in the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw that dealt with stormwater and a reference to C-1108-20 – 2020 Fees and Charges Bylaw was required. The section added to the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw now has all stormwater related issues located in one section rather than spread throughout different sections of the bylaw. It also provides more details on the stormwater network.