During the 2006-2007 budget deliberations, the City Council decided to adopt a Storm Water Utility as a way to continue the work required to meet federal mandates for storm water while simultaneously creating a funding mechanism that more fairly distributes the cost of this program and provide tax relief to residents of Lewiston. These federal mandates included requirements of the Clean Water Act and include the City’s responsibilities to address Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), and NPDES Permitting (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) among others.
The storm water utility fee is based upon the impervious surface a property has, which directly correlates to the amount of amount of run-off generated from that property. Residential properties generate less run-off than parcels with large parking lots, but residential property taxes were paying 53% of the costs of these services, while tax exempt properties paid nothing.
The storm water utility corrected this inequity and reduced the City’s mill rate. If the $1.9 million in requirements were paid for with property taxes, it would cost $1.27 per $1,000 valuation. A typical single family home in the community valued at $80,000 would pay an additional $102 in property taxes toward these services. With the Storm Water Utility, this same home will pay $44.
We hope you find the following information helpful and informative.
David A. Jones, P.E
Director, Public Works
Links to the following additional stormwater information:
Stormwater Utility Updated Brochure
Stormwater Fee Schedule and Credit Policy
Direct Drainage Areas Study map
Stormwater Utility Calculation Tool - 2014 (36KB Microsoft Excel File)
City Ordinance - Chapter 74 - Utilities
Includes: Article III. Non-Storm Water Discharge
Article IV. Stormwater Utility
Sec 1 Title 30-A M.R.SA., § 3406
An Act To Allow Municipalities To Place Liens for Failure To Pay Stormwater Assessments
Be advised, effective October 15, 2013, the City of Lewiston will begin pursuing delinquent stormwater charges through the lien process.
In accordance with Section 1 of Title 30-A M.R.SA., § 3406, any person failing to pay the stormwater service fee when due shall be subject to having a stormwater lien recorded against their property, to secure the payment of the outstanding charges. Said lien will be filed at the Androscoggin Registry of Deeds. To prevent the recording of the lien, all past due stormwater and interest charged must be paid. This lien takes precedence over all other claims on the real estate, excepting only claims for taxes and sewer.
If a lien is filed, you may lose your property unless you pay the charges, plus interest & the costs associated with the lien.
Public Works In-House Efforts to Address Stormwater
The NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) Phase II program requires the City develop and implement a plan to meet the program requirements which address six minimum control measures. The actions below respond to minimum control measure Number 6: “Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping” and ensure we are in compliance with that aspect of our permit.
Good Housekeeping - Storm Water Collection Systems Operations
Every Spring crews from each Highway District are assigned several duties including Street and Sidewalk Sweeping, Roadside Mowing, Catch Basin Cleaning and Inspections, and Maintenance of Storm Structures (pipes, catch-basins, ditches, culverts). These assignments begin as soon as weather conditions allow. These services are provided for several reasons: pedestrian and vehicle safety, aesthetic value and conformance to environmental regulations and policies.
Street and Sidewalk Sweeping
In early spring, when weather and road conditions permit, two sweeping shifts (day/night) are established to address the build-up of sand left on the streets during the winter season. The night shift sweeps the inner core of the City (with boundaries being Russell St., East Avenue, and the Androscoggin River). Because of the congestion in the downtown area, sweeping these streets at night increases production and avoids interfering with parking in the downtown area during the day. Once the night sweeping program is completed in the downtown area, maintenance sweeping begins and this continues until evenings are too cold (usually mid-November).
The day shift sweeping concentrates on sweeping the arterial streets outside the downtown area described above. The City is divided into three sweeping corridors (Main St., Lisbon St. and Sabattus St.). Main arterial streets and collector streets are first priority and are completed before all other streets in these corridors are swept. The remaining streets are swept in order of priority. The Department rotates the order each of the corridors are swept. Each year a different corridor is swept first such that every three years each of the corridors gets its turn as the first, second or third area to be completed. In the spring, sidewalks are swept to remove sand and material left during the previous winter. This effort is coordinated so that the streets where these sidewalks are located are swept soon after the sidewalk sweeping is completed.
Where & when we sweep
- Major arterials, collector and residential streets and bike lanes are swept annually
- The downtown area is swept twice a week.
- What you can do to maximize a clean sweep
Citizens can help the street sweepers do their job on scheduled street sweeping days by removing vehicles, trash cans, basketball hoops and other obstructions from the street. It is also helpful if citizens keep tree branches and bushes trimmed back so sweepers can sweep up to the curb line. Residents, business owners and landscape companies can also help out by not blowing grass clippings or disposing yard waste, leaves and branches into the street for a sweeper to clean up. Downtown Sweeping Map
Give us your Feedback
The staff at Streets strives to improve customer response and control expenses through sweeping scheduling and planned sweeper replacement. We welcome citizen feedback and reporting. Report potholes / street hazards online or by calling 207-513-3003.
Litter Vacs are used for the purpose of cleaning sidewalks and gutter lines to remove debris, litter and leaves on its established routes in the downtown area. A larger utility truck is used for larger items, along with its scheduled cleaning of litter baskets and trash receptacles downtown and the removal of road kills in a prompt and proper manner with regard for employee and public health.
Shoulder and Ditch Maintenance
Of the approximately 188 miles of streets in the City, there are nearly fifty (50) miles of roads, which require regular maintenance of the road shoulders and roadside storm-water ditches. These listed streets do not include streets with curbs and underground storm drainage, but are limited to those areas having gravel or grass road shoulders and surface ditches / culverts.
Maintenance of road shoulders and road-side ditches is an important part of the City’s overall street and storm-water drainage maintenance programs. Adequately maintaining road shoulders and ditches will extend the life of the pavement on the City’s streets and improve safety of the users of the City’s streets. Improper or inadequate drainage seriously affects the life of asphalt pavement. The reason for having fully functional shoulders and ditches is to prevent water from entering the road base and damaging the road surface through freeze/thaw cycles. Maintaining road shoulders and ditches will improve the City’s streets by extending the life of the pavement. In addition, ruts and depressions in road shoulders can be a safety hazard to motorists and others using the road. Addressing these maintenance requirements on a regular cyclical basis improves safety and the life of the roadway.
Every Summer one Highway Worker is assigned to a flail mower for roadside mowing of grasses and weeds. It is the goal of this department to do a complete pass through all City streets that need roadside mowing on a yearly basis. It is always necessary to repeat the mowing on main arteries during high growth periods to maintain adequate visibility.
Roadside mowing is important for visibility for vehicular traffic and is an important part of the maintenance and operation of our road shoulders and roadside storm-water ditches. This maintenance allows storm water to flow to open roadside storm-water ditches and storm drains.
Cleaning and Inspections of Catch Basins
The City of Lewiston’s cleaning schedule allows for all City owned catch basins to be inspected and cleaned, if necessary, during a two year period. Every Spring, when weather permits, two (2) Highway Workers are typically assigned to a Freightliner Vactor, better known as the Vac-All. Depending on temperatures and weather conditions, the operation typically commences around mid-April and ends in mid-November. The amount of material and number of cleanings is recorded.
Inspections are done visually and with a marked rod to determine amount of available free space. The amount of available free space will determine whether or not the basin grate is removed and the basin cleaned. If an unlawful discharge is suspected it will be reported to the supervisor in charge, a notation will be made in the catch basin cleaning log and it will be scheduled for further investigation/ tracing. Tracing will be done in an attempt to determine the origin of the discharge. Tracing will be done in a methodical manner to efficiently resolve the cause and source of the discharge. Employee will report to supervisor who will log for further investigation as a joint effort by Highway Division staff and engineering. Removing unlawful discharges include determining ownership, notifying the owner and enforcing compliance. If the City is the owner, the unlawful discharge shall be stopped and necessary repairs made to ensure there is no recurrence.