TRANSPORTATION, ENERGY & UTILITIES SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
May 1, 2017
City Council Chamber
Ground Floor, City Hall
Immediately following the 2:00 Committee meeting.
Attendance: Council Members Al Ferraro (Chair), Greg Anderson, Anna Lopez Brosche, John Crescimbeni, Reggie Gaffney, Reggie Brown; Council Member Doyle Carter was excused; Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston; Kim Taylor, Council Auditor’s Office; Jordan Elsbury, Administration; John Jackson, Council Research Division; Legislative Assistant Samantha Lane.
The Chairman called the special committee meeting to order at 3:17 P.M.
The focus of the Special Meeting was a presentation by John Pappas, Director, the Department of Public Works, entitled Stormwater Utility: 2017 Fee Adjustments, Exemptions and Credits Fiscal Year Report.
Mr. Pappas said that his PowerPoint presentation would cover the report’s origin, the reporting requirements, definitions and the report summary.
Mr. Pappas explained that the origin of the annual report was Ordinance 2007-836-E when the Stormwater Utility was established. The ordinance was implemented by Ordinance 2008-129-E. Both ordinances amended Ordinance Code Chapter 754 (Stormwater Management Utility Code).
Section 754.109 established: user fee adjustments, user fee “exemptions” reductions, user fee credits, application & reporting requirements and the use of the Adjustments & Credit Manual.
Section 754.109 (e), Ordinance Code, stipulates that in keeping records and reporting, on a City fiscal year basis, the Department of Public Works shall maintain records to show how all credits, adjustments, and discounts have been applied, and the Director of Public Works shall annually prepare a report to be presented to the City Council and the Council Auditor each April 1st.
The March 31, 2017 Public Works memorandum to the City Council and Council Auditor provided a basic description of stormwater fee “adjustment,” “exemption” & “credit.” It included the value of early payment discounts applied by the Tax Collector’s Office.
Mr. Pappas defined the various terms used in the annual report. A user fee is what is charged to every parcel in Jacksonville with impervious area. The charge is separated by residential and non-residential parcels. The user fee adjustment is an adjustment of the user fee to a particular parcel based upon errors or mistakes in the fee or charge for that parcel. User fee “exemptions” reductions are the elimination of the user fee assessed to a particular parcel based on the property owner being a charitable organization registered as a 501(c) 3 organization.
User fee credit is defined as credit or “reduced fee” for stormwater management services provided by the applicant for a specific parcel, in accordance with the “Adjustments and Credit Manual.” Credits are provided as follows: 1) SJRMD/FDEP permitted pond (30%); 2) detailed drainage study (max 50%); 3) programs & services (4%); 4) education (2%); 5) other best management practices (2%).
Early Payment Discounts - the fee was placed on the Jacksonville Property Tax as a non ad valorem fee…allows for a discount for early payments.
Mr. Pappas explained the Report Summary in the annual report to the Council and Council Auditor:
By Fiscal Year, there are constant adjustments to ensure accurate billings. “Exemptions” reductions – consistent values impacted by low income exemption due to annual re-application requirement and potential change due to income increases. Credits – consistent values with approximately 30% of all parcels in Jacksonville receiving a component of this credit…changes due to new developments having on-site water treatment facilities. Variances year-over-year – number of applications received; change in “exemption” status due to loss of 501(c) 3 certification; income increase that exceeds low income exemption level; added parcel billings for new developments will increase credit opportunity as most all new developments include a stormwater management component.
Mr. Pappas fielded numerous questions.
Council Member John Crescimbeni wanted to know if driveway pavers were considered impervious.
Council President Lori Boyer remarked that Duchee Stevens often raises stormwater fee issues in her frequent public comment appearances at Council Meetings. Ms. Stevens complained that the City is not sending out the adequate paperwork that enables low income community to apply or renew applications for reduced user fees. Ms. Boyer indicated that after reviewing the numbers of applications for reduced user fees in the March 31, 2017 Public Works Department annual report to the Council and Council Auditor’s Office, it appears that Ms. Stevens is probably right.
There being no further business, the special meeting was adjourned at 3:44 P.M.
John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729
Posted: 4:00 P.M.