Municipal Drainage Utility System
What is the Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee?
The Marshall Public Works Division is responsible for drainage services as well as the installation, operation, and maintenance of drainage infrastructure and right-of-way throughout Marshall. The Municipal Drainage Utility System was created by the City Commission pursuant to Chapter 552 of the Texas Local Government Code to fund numerous drainage maintenance and improvement projects. The Municipal Drainage Utility System is separate from the Water System or Sanitary Sewer System.
Marshall has extensive stormwater drainage management needs as most recently evidenced by flooding and massive damage in 2015 and 2016, with a large number of citizen drainage problems. City funding for drainage management does not currently meet our community needs. Our last major drainage improvement program and study was completed in 1971 (45 years ago). Historically, the City has relied on the General Fund to support the construction of projects to reduce flooding and for maintenance of drainage infrastructure, such as storm drain systems, ditches/channels, and roadway culverts. Each year, the City’s drainage management program competes with other general government activities for the limited General Fund capital resources. In other words, the available funds are allocated to priority projects that include many items of essential basic infrastructure. Often, drainage projects are unable to be fully funded due to other needs and limited funds.
The drainage fee system was created by the City Commission in 2016 in response to the huge number of needed drainage and flooding related issues. We currently have twenty-three (23) major drainage improvement projects with an estimated cost of $8,035,000 million dollars; our culvert/bridge/drainage budget for 2016 was $35,000. Drainage improvements and reducing the number of major flooding incidents are a “public safety” issue. The Municipal Drainage Utility System funding will play a critical role in protecting public health and safety in our community and reducing flooding events and allowing daily maintenance of drainage, culverts, gutters, and right-of-ways.
DRAINAGE UTILITY SYSTEM FEE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does the Municipal Drainage Utility System fund drainage infrastructure and programs?
The current rate is $3.50/month, as established in January 2017. The Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee is assessed based on every active water meter.
Drainage infrastructure and services will be exclusively funded through the Municipal Drainage Utility System fee rates. Chapter 552 of the Texas Local Government Code requires that all funds raised by the drainage fee, by law, may ONLY be used for drainage related activities, no exceptions.
Through its annual budgeting process, the Marshall City Commission determines the appropriate expenditures for drainage infrastructure and services for each fiscal year and will set the Drainage Fee based on current and future needs based on annually updating our Twenty Year Drainage Improvement Program. New business or residential developments will be required to address their increased runoff through on-site detention, off-site mitigation, or participation in a community storm water project. Under Chapter 552 of the Texas Local Government Code, the City Commission has the obligation to set Municipal Drainage Utility System rates based on the cost of service.
How will the Municipal Drainage Utility System fee be billed?
The City of Marshall is authorized to levy and bill the drainage charge through the City of Marshall Water Utility Billing System, which will be separately identified from the other utility billings.
What is the purpose of the Municipal Drainage Utility System fee?
The Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee is a rate intended to cover capital and maintenance expenses associated with local drainage projects, and fund operational services. The fee is assessed on residential and commercial benefited properties and collected on a monthly basis through your water bill; it will appear as a “Drainage Utility Fee.”
What is funded through the Municipal Drainage Utility System fee?
As the primary revenue source for the City's Storm Water Operating Fund, the Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee can only be used to fund those services that directly support MS4 Permit requirements and storm water operations. Examples of services funded by the Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee include, but are not limited to the following:
§ City Bridges and Large Culverts
§ Detention Ponds to Reduce Flooding
§ Drainage Maintenance of Ditches, Culverts, Gutters - Roadways
§ Drainage Infrastructure Maintenance
§ Mowing & Restoration of Drainage Creeks and Channels
§ Natural Creekway Debris Removal
§ Right-Of-Way Maintenance
§ Street Sweeping
What is a Low Impact Development Incentive or Credit?
A credit is a reduction or forgiveness of the Municipal Drainage Utility System Fee that can be pursued by a property owner or occupant who operates and maintains a permanent Best Management Practice (BMP) or Low Impact Development (LID) feature that reduces storm water runoff through features such as a downstream or on-site storm water detention facility. Location must provide documentation that their storm water control feature captures sufficient storm water to qualify for their entire site. Partial storm water retention will be credited on a prorate basis.
WHO HAS TO PAY THE MUNICIPAL DRAINAGE UTILITY SYSTEM FEE?
The Municipal Drainage Utility System fee will continue to be assessed to the owner or occupant of the "benefited property", which includes any lot, parcel, or real property that has been improved and which contributes runoff into the City's storm water system. By ordinance, there are certain exclusions from benefited property, including:
§ Property held and maintained in its natural state, until such time that the property is developed and all of the public infrastructure constructed has been accepted by the City in which the property is located for maintenance
§ A subdivided lot, until a structure has been built on the lot and a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued by the City
§ Property with proper construction and maintenance of a wholly sufficient and privately owned drainage system
§ State or Harrison County property
§ Marshall Independent School District
§ City of Marshall
§ Property owned by public or private institutions of higher education
§ Property owned by a religious organization that is exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 11.20, Texas Tax Code, as amended
DRAINAGE UTILITY SYSTEM REFERENCES – PDF LINKS
- Drainage Fund - Twenty-Year Capital Improvements Plan 08-25-16
- Drainage Utility Creation Ordinance 12-15-16
- Drainage Utility Rate Ordinance 02-09-17
- 2016 Drainage Utility System Budget 06-08-17
- Drainage Utility System Overview