Money Makes the World Go Round – Municipal Stormwater Permit Compliance Cost Needs Analysis for a Potential Funding Initiative in San Mateo County
The purpose of this talk is to explain the methods used and preliminary results of a recent funding “needs analysis,” an essential component of any funding initiative. As described below, the talk will provide audience members with a summary of the concepts and tools used during the analysis for potential future application. To make the experience interactive, the speaker will ask audience members to compare and contrast with the methods and results of other funding initiative needs analyses.
The City/County Associate of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) implements a number of programs related to transportation and quality of life in the county. One program, the San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (SMCWPPP), focuses on municipal stormwater compliance activities mandated through the Municipal Regional Permit (MRP), a San Francisco Bay Area-wide NPDES permit. Each municipality in San Mateo County is a Permittee and responsible for meeting permit mandates. SMCWPPP provides technical assistance to the Permittees and performs certain compliance activities on their behalf where countywide or regional efficiencies exist.
The MRP expires November 30, 2014 and the reissued version of the permit will likely require a greater level of effort from Permittees. Existing dedicated sources of revenue to SMCWPPP and its municipalities for permit compliance appear insufficient in the long-term. C/CAG is therefore considering sponsoring a countywide initiative to generate additional funding for stormwater compliance activities at both the countywide and local levels. Should public opinion polling suggest its viability, C/CAG anticipates placing the funding initiative before property owners or voters during 2015. If successful, this would enable a potential new revenue stream beginning in the 2016/17 fiscal year for SMCWPPP and its Permittees to comply with the reissued MRP.
An important first step was conducting a “needs analysis” to justify the necessity of generating additional funding for stormwater permit compliance activities. The objectives were to 1) identify current municipal stormwater permit compliance expenditures and dedicated revenues for SMCWPPP and its Permittees, and 2) project future compliance costs. To estimate current expenditures and revenues, C/CAG obtained and reviewed available written local budget information and performed in-depth interviews and follow-up with management-level municipal staff from each of SMCWPPP’s 22 Permittees. To project future costs, hypothetical scenarios of future implementation of enhanced control actions addressing trash and PCBs/mercury were developed based on the progress to-date with permit renewal negotiations and costs modeled. It is anticipated that major increases in level of effort and cost will primarily be associated with these two areas of the reissued permit. Annual estimates were then developed for SMCWPPP and each San Mateo County Permittee of current and projected future expenditures, dedicated revenue, and projected shortfalls. For agencies lacking data, current expenditures were extrapolated based on average per capita expenditures of the agencies for which data were available. Projected shortfalls were calculated by summing existing expenditures and projected future costs and then subtracting existing dedicated revenues.
The preliminary results of the analysis indicate revenue shortfalls for meeting future stormwater permit mandates at both the countywide and local levels, with a projected combined total annual shortfall of $37M. Most of the shortfall is due to the $23M projected future annual cost for addressing PCBs and mercury. However, the trash and PCBs/mercury control cost projections are highly uncertain and will likely be reevaluated when a draft version of the reissued permit becomes available.