On May 21, the city of Chattanooga's Stormwater Committee passed a recommendation from the city's Water Quality Department to raise Water Quality fees 10% year over year for the next 5 years, and to increase Land Disturbance Fee Permits from $30/acre to $300/acre. The recommendation goes before City Council on June 12.
AGC of East Tennessee, alongside the Chattanooga Home Builders Association, Chattanooga Realtors Association and others, expressed concern at the Stormwater Committee Public Meeting about the lack of public input and process, and the lack of transparency in sharing what the increase in fees would cover.
AGC members who shared their thoughts with staff said that an increase may be validated if those fees would increase efficiencies in the permitting process, inspections, and payment on projects. With the Land Disturbance Permit fee increase, Water Quality Department said that at least 2 inspectors will be hired and the fees will help remedy software glitches that cause delays in permitting.
It is less clear what the Water Quality fee increases will fund. The impact of these fees will keenly affect large property owners and in many cases will exceed city property taxes. Below is a link to the information the city provided about the increases that was released to the public one week prior to the Stormwater Committee meeting.