Raftelis was engaged by the City of Reno (City) to study the feasibility of developing a stormwater management utility and fee. The City has been funding and fulfilling stormwater infrastructure needs for decades using sewer fund and other revenues. That funding level has varied from year-to-year because of the City’s competing priorities. The City has experienced increasing stormwater costs with capital needs and MS4 permit requirements being the main drivers for these increases. The City is seeking a more stable revenue stream to fully and consistently fund their stormwater program.
The engagement included assessing the City’s current and future desired level of service, development of a 10-year financial model, development of stormwater utility administration costs, determination of the proper unit of charge (Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)), rate base analysis, rate structure analysis, assessment of stormwater fee impacts on key customer segments, and comparison of stormwater rates and rate structures to other peer communities. Raftelis completed the feasibility study in 2018, and the City is moving forward with implementing a stormwater fee with Raftelis’ assistance. During the implementation phase, Raftelis has worked with staff to refine the financial forecast and has developed a draft approach to fee credits. We prepared a strategic communications plan that includes input from stakeholders on the credit approach and other implementation considerations. Raftelis also digitized the impervious area for thousands of parcels and worked with staff on refining the stormwater rate structure developed in the feasibility phase. Implementation tasks are ongoing and, depending on Council action, the fees may be implemented in calendar 2022.