Final Needs Assessment, Program Recommendations and Cost Analysis

Introductions

Alachua County has identified various problem areas throughout the county that frequently flood and cause structural damage or accessibility issues. Water bodies within the county have been identified as being “impaired” or having water quality deficiencies based on State and Federal regulatory criteria. These problem or impaired areas have been documented and investigated. Due to the lack of dedicated funding, however, corrective actions have not been fully implemented. Recognizing the significance of the flooding and the need to protect natural water bodies, Alachua County included specific guidelines in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) to better manage stormwater. The Comp Plan (effective May 2, 2005) contains a Stormwater Element which outlines the Goals, Objectives and Policies for stormwater management within the County. The Comp Plan requires the initiation of a Stormwater Management Program (SMP) that would protect natural drainage features and the quality of waters. The SMP would also reinforce that new developments meet adopted levels of service for floodplain management, water quantity and water quality. Implementing a comprehensive SMP would require a Dedicated Funding Source which currently does not exist in the County. This approach is consistent with the Comp Plan, specifically Objectives 1 and 2 of the Stormwater Element of the plan. The County has also developed a Stormwater Ordinance that allows the assessment of unincorporated areas in Alachua County to provide a Dedicated Funding Source. The assessment would have to provide a tangible benefit to those assessed and be based on a fair and equitable fee structure.

Objectives and Scope

The objective of the Needs Assessment is to provide a summary of existing and future stormwater management problems, concerns, and issues that Alachua County will need to address. Addressing these issues will allow the County to be proactive and responsive in meeting stormwater needs. The results of this assessment will be used to formulate a prioritized stormwater program implementation plan and allow for projected program project funding, staff, and equipment costs to be estimated. The objective of the Program Recommendations and Cost Analysis is to evaluate the potential costs of implementing and maintaining a SMP that addresses the stormwater needs of the County and thereby meeting goals, objectives, and policies outlined in the Comp Plan. The program would address flooding, water quality, maintenance, and administration. Having this all-encompassing SMP gives citizens confidence in the County’s desire and ability to correct flooding and water quality deficiencies. Being Comprehensive is a major goal of the SMP in order to address necessary Capital Improvements, continued Maintenance and Administration of the program.

 Initial attempts to project annual program costs were conducted during initial stormwater program development efforts in 2006. The previous efforts culminated in a June 2006 Engineering Memorandum which summarized projected annual program costs for administration, operations, and maintenance. In addition, preliminary capital costs for some identified flooding problem and water quality projects were identified.

This current analysis builds upon the 2006 work and incorporates additional program components identified in the Needs Assessment. The end result is a summary of projected costs to implement and sustain a stormwater program that adequately addresses the County’s needs – both through increases in Level of Service (LOS) and through addressing existing regulatory mandates. The cost analyses are based on a 10 year SMP planning period.

To justify and document the recommended assessment methodology and rate structure necessary to provide a dedicated funding source, a separate Stormwater Funding Program Report will need to be prepared. Preparation of this Funding Program Report is not included in the current Stormwater Master Plan scope, but can be prepared at a later date under separate contract to the County. That report would document the analysis necessary to legally justify the assessment rates for each parcel. This enclosed engineering report provides support information that would be needed during those efforts to prepare the subsequent Funding Program Report.

The following stormwater management needs exist in Alachua County flooding.

Flooding Concerns
Water Quality Concerns
Maintenance Concerns
Hydrological Data Needs
Future Needs
 Flooding Concerns

Flooding Problem Areas - The presence of these unfunded flood improvement projects represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and capital funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

LOS Deficiencies - The presence of concentrated LOS deficiencies represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and project funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

Flooding Complaints - Continuing to reactively address complaints regarding flooding problems from citizens represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and equipment resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated to promote proactively addressing problems.

 Water Quality Concerns

Water Quality Projects - Implementation of these projects to further the County’s focus on improving water quality in its lakes, streams, and aquifer represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and project funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

BMAPs - Implementation of the recommendations of the current Orange Creek BMAP and future Santa Fe River BMAP represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and project funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

 Maintenance Concerns

Chronic Maintenance Problems - The continued reactive approach to addressing maintenance related drainage complaints represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and equipment resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated to promote proactively addressing problems.

Infrastructure Assessment - The continued reactive inspection and maintenance approach to addressing the condition of drainage related infrastructure represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and equipment resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated to promote proactively addressing problems.

 Hydrological Data Needs

Hydrological Data Collection – The need for additional hydrological stream and lake level gauge data collection to support future watershed evaluation efforts represents a need that Alachua County should consider. To address this need, additional staff and capital equipment resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

 Future Needs

Public Education - The benefit in providing a comprehensive public education program for the citizens of Alachua County represents a need that the County should address. To address this need, additional staff and funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

Drainage Infrastructure Inventory - The benefit in completing the inventory and conditions assessment of drainage infrastructure in the County represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and project funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

Detailed Watershed Assessment - The benefit in completing detailed watershed assessment in the County represents a need that Alachua County should address. To address this need, additional staff and project funding resources would be required beyond what the County currently has allocated.

PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS AND COST ANALYSIS

For each element, a cost analysis has been provided in an attempt to quantify budget requirements for that element over a 10 year SMP planning period starting in fiscal year 2011.

The elements included are as follows:

  •  Maintenance Operations
    • Staffing
    • Equipment
  •  Administration
    • Staff Associated with Program Administration
    • Program Administration
    • Expenses Associated with Public Education
    • Regulation & Code Development Support
    • Inspection & Enforcement Support
    • Environmental Protection Department Staffing
    • NPDES Administration
    • BMAP Support
    • Street Sweeping
    • Master Plan Reimbursement
    • Stormwater Master Plan and Program Updates
    • Program Setup & Maintenance
  •  Capital Projects
    • Flooding Projects
    • Water Quality Projects
    • Watershed Studies

The individual costs for each of these elements have been summarized on Table 3-10. This table provides an overview of projected program costs and is intended to be used as the basis for evaluating and establishing actual funding mechanisms and rate requirements. For the identified program cost elements, the issue of county-wide versus special area benefit fees needs to be considered with regard to how the elements will ultimately be funded. Based on the cost analyses presented in this report, the recommended capital flooding projects appear suited for consideration of funding on a special benefit area unit basis due to their limited geographic focus. The other elements appear suited for County-wide program funding. All of the identified elements are included together on Table 3-10 for simplicity purposes to allow for an evaluation of total projected program costs. A brief discussion on Funding Alternatives can be found HERE.

Based on Table 3-10, the average annual estimated SMP cost is on the order of $6,108,648 per year including all recommended program elements. Each of the cost elements on Table 3-10 was further categorized as to the degree that they address water quality, water quantity, or public education. These categorized totals are shown on Table 3-11.

Based on the funding alternatives evaluated, the funding of a comprehensive SMP for Alachua County appears to be most suited to an assessment or fee or some combination thereof. It may be to the County’s best interest to fund each component differently. In this case, portions of the maintenance and administration may be able to be addressed through reallocations of existing County budget with others funded through a SMP based on collection of assessment or fees. Capital projects that will culminate in construction of improvements may also be considered for sales tax funding.

To justify and document a recommend assessment methodology and rate structure necessary to provide a dedicated funding source, or some combination of a dedicated funding source and additional County budget allocations, a separate Stormwater Funding Program Report will need to be prepared which would document the analysis necessary to legally justify the assessment rates for each parcel.

The external funding source possibilities discussed should be evaluated in earnest when possible to supplement the program funding, particularly with respect to capital project implementation