Town seeks state grant for stormwater fee project

The Shelburne Stormwater Advisory Committee applied for a state grant Tuesday to help with costs associated with setting up a proposed stormwater utility fee. If Shelburne is selected for the grant, it will receive $50,000 for costs associated with further developing the fee ordinance.

At its meeting last week, the Shelburne Selectboard approved the application for an Ecosystem Restoration Grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation. The grant would help pay for the work to develop the ordinance, the fee structure, credit manual, and mapping for the public hearing process for the project, said Shelburne Director of Administration Ann Janda.

“If the ordinance is passed, the grant will also help with the cost of setting up billing software, effective public outreach, and enable additional staff time to respond to questions,” she added.

The town would match the grant with 50 percent which already has been budgeted, according to Town Manager Joe Colangelo.

The advisory committee, town staff, and consultants are working together to develop the fee to pay for improvements in Shelburne that address streambank erosion, stormwater runoff and limiting water pollution. To pay for these measures, the fee would replace property taxes, Janda said.

Residents in Shelburne will pay less under a fee system, but commercial properties are set to face an increase if the fee is approved. Credits would be awarded to property owners who take steps to address stormwater runoff.

“It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, but the option of getting state support via the grant is hugely appreciated,” Janda said.

It’s unclear when the town will hear back about the grant. Three stormwater committee meetings will be held this month: Feb. 6, 13, 20. Meetings are at the town offices at 3 p.m. Information: shelburnevt.org/460/Stormwater-Advisory-Committee.

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