RD591 - Consolidated Virginia Erosion And Stormwater Management Program Fee Evaluation - December 2016
This report is prepared by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) pursuant to Enactment Clause 8 of Chapters 68 and 758 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly.
Chapters 68 and 758 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly included, in Enactment Clause 8, a directive to DEQ to:
“conduct an evaluation of fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program in order to determine whether the program can be funded adequately under the current fee structure. The Department shall conduct its evaluation based on revenues and resource needs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016, and shall complete its assessment by September 1, 2016. Every VSMP authority and VESCP authority shall submit information to the Department by August 1, 2016, concerning its use of the fees that it received under the Virginia Stormwater Management Program and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016. The information shall be submitted on a form to be provided by the Department. The Department shall then convene a Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) to review the Department's evaluation and consider the need to establish revised fees to fund the consolidated VESMP and any other issues of concern regarding the Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program. The Department shall report the results of its evaluation and the SAG's discussion to the Governor and the chairs of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, and the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee by the first day of the 2017 Regular Session.”
In early June 2016 Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program (VESCP) and Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Authorities were notified by email of the legislative directive to DEQ. The email summarized DEQ’s directive to evaluate fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program (VESMP) to determine whether the program can be funded adequately under the current fee structure as well as the legislative requirement for localities to provide this survey information to DEQ by August 1, 2016. The survey was attached to the email and was developed with input from the Virginia Municipal Stormwater Association (VAMSA). DEQ utilized all surveys received in summarizing the information to the Stakeholder Advisory Group.
DEQ posted a notice on Virginia’s Regulatory Town Hall on July 29, 2016 seeking interested persons to participate on a representative stakeholder group, known as the “Stakeholder Advisory Group for fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program” (Stakeholder Group). The members of the Stakeholder Group included representatives from local government, an environmental consultant, representatives from trade groups, representatives from commercial and residential development, and the environmental community. Members of the Stakeholder Group are listed in Attachment A. The Stakeholder Group met on September 29, October 31, and November 18, 2016 to discuss the funding under the current fee structure and the need and parameters for establishing a revised fee structure to fund the consolidated VESMP.
Consensus was tested with respect to each recommendation proposed by the group, with the level of interest defined as follows:
3 – Strongly support
2 – Some reservations, but can live with it and will not oppose it
1 – Serious concerns make it impossible to support and may actively oppose it
Consensus would be achieved so long as all members present indicated a level of interest of “2”
or “3.” No consensus would be reached if any one member expressed a level of interest of “1.”
It is important to note that when convening a stakeholder group, assuring representation in equal numbers among varying interests can be a challenge. Moreover, it can be difficult for all members of the stakeholder group to attend all meetings of the group. Accordingly, the actual number of people responding in a particular way in a straw poll is less significant than the overall view of whether consensus could be obtained and the concerns expressed about why consensus could not be achieved.