How Are Fees Used
The Storm and Surface Water Utility (SSWU) provides a dedicated and
reliable means of funding improvements and maintenance of the stormwater
system in Bellingham. The SSWU fees allow the City to undertake new projects
and enhance existing programs. A number of capital projects have been
identified to control flooding, improve water quality, and enhance fish
habitat. In addition, non-capital expenditures—such as planning, regulatory
compliance, operations and maintenance, and public education—are important
parts of the program. Fees also facilitate compliance with state and federal
water resource regulations.
Other Funding Sources
Permit fees and storm drainage fees
One-time fees cover the costs of permit review and capital improvements related to
storm drainage for new development. They help ensure that “growth pays for
Although the level of this funding will
decrease, the Street Fund is charged a fee by the SSWU based on the
impervious surface of the City’s streets. WSDOT is also charged for the
impervious surface of Interstate 5 within the City.
Grant and loan funding
Some SSWU projects are eligible
for grants and low-interest loans through Washington’s State Revolving Fund,
Public Works Trust Fund, and other programs. The utility can also issue
revenue bonds, backed by rate revenues, to fund large capital projects. Each
of these sources is evaluated and pursued by the City as appropriate.