Charlottesville residents and property owners will have the chance Tuesday night to give their opinion on a proposal to implement a fee that would pay for the city to address a pressing environmental issue.

“This would go to pay for some much needed repair and rehabilitation of the oldest sections of our stormwater drainage system,” said Kristel Riddervold, the city’s environmental administrator.
“It would go for projects that will result in improved water quality in area streams and that are required by new and increasingly complicated federal and state mandates,” Riddervold continued.
Riddervold said the city is compelled to address deteriorating pipes because the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will determine in July whether to renew a permit to discharge stormwater into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 
The council dismissed the idea of a fee in late 2008, citing worsening economic conditions, but revived the concept last summer.
An advisory committee met three times and recommended that the city implement a fee of up to $3.25 a month for every 1,000 square feet of impervious surface on a property.  
The funds would go toward the city’s water resources protection program. Depending on the ultimate rate selected, the fee would either augment or replace funding the city currently dedicates from its general fund.
The city currently spends $965,000 a year on stormwater pipe repair and replacement, but Riddervold said that will not fund the system’s needs.
Three councilors agreed earlier this month to schedule the public hearing in order to gauge citizen interest. Mayor Satyendra Huja and Councilor Dave Norris opposed the measure.
“This is the first time we’ve gotten to the point in the process of having an ordinance put together for consideration,” Riddervold said. “Council hasn’t landed on a unanimous consensus so it is very important for people’s opinions to be brought forward.”
The council’s regular meetings are usually held on Mondays, but this public hearing will be held Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.