We first determine what is the problem? There is significant flooding in some city areas caused by clogged storm drains, structures built too close together, structures built below FEMA flood levels, & poorly designed drainage.
What is the resolution? Normal storm drain maintenance & CIP funding to replace old pipes, pipes that are too small, install swales, improve drainage, repair or replace pumps.
What is the cost? Based on the past few years & projected 5 year expenditures, $2-3M per year for CIP projects, plus matching grants for some, plus normal citywide maintenance costs.
Where is the problem? There is $10M Basin 5 – Coastland Mall, Lake Park; and $10.6M Basin 3 – Old Naples, 5th Ave, Broad Ave.
Who should pay to resolve these problems? I see two options. Either only the residential & commercial entities in the affected Basins, as is done with the canal dredging. Or the entire city’s residential & commercial entities.
One method proposed is based on impervious surface of a home/condo site. This appears to be logical. But is it appropriate, if the homes or condos are not located in the area where the flooding occurs? Thus the impervious surface in one basin, has no relationship, has no relevance what so ever, to the problem cause, nor the problem resolution, in a different basin.
Some Gordon Dr. homes have a large foot print & thus a large impervious surface. But why disregard the amount of grass & landscape around those homes, which absorbs the rain water? It would seem much more appropriate to calculate the impervious surface area as a percentage of the total lot area. But, you would do this only if, the property had any relevance to the problem.
R1-15A district homes, have much stricter building setback codes & landscape requirements than the rest of Naples. There is more space to the street, to the waterways in the rear, & between homes, plus more green space requirements, than do homes in the areas that are flooding. R1-15A homes mostly retain the rain water on their own lots. So I do not see the relevance of impervious surface in R1-15A to the Basin 3 & Basin 5 flooding problems.
It was also suggested using impervious surface. But residents of Gulf Shore Assoc. or Little Harbour are not the cause of the Lake Park flooding, nor are they causing major flooding in their own neighborhoods. Maybe someone can explain why a home or condo owner, not in Lake Park, should pay more to solve the $10M flooding problem in Lake Park, than do the Lake Park residents.
If you decide the problem & resolution is a Neighborhood/Water Basin issue that should be funded by those in the respective Water Basin, then impervious surface in that Neighborhood, may be a valid method of charging.
But, if you decide it as an entire citywide issue that should be funded by all city residential & commercial entities, the current method of charging each residential unit (condo big or small, home big or small) seems most appropriate. Although we may not live in the flooding areas, & most homes & condos are not the cause of the flooding, we do drive in the areas, and we do not want any flooding in Naples. I happen to believe it is an entire city issue. I do not think that Sam & his neighbors, nor those living in Old Naples should have to bear the entire $20.6 M CIP cost burden that needs to be spent just in Basins 3 & 5.
Another issue is the quality of water flowing into the bay due to the oil & tire rubber on the streets. Maybe charging a fee for each car or truck at a home, or condo, & at any business located in, or doing business in Naples, is more appropriate, than impervious surface. Naples generally has 2-3 people per residence, & 2 cars, no matter the size of the condo or home. Cars & trucks cause this problem, not the home or condo size, & not the lot size. The oil flows on to the impervious Naples city roads, then into the bay.
If the issue is that Condo’s, in their entirety, should not pay more than commercial, there is another alternative to consider. Raise the rates on the commercial properties in those areas where the flooding is caused by those specific properties, & then maybe the city can lower all the residential rates, both home & condo.
I hope someone will explain why unrelated impervious surface is an appropriate metric to use to calculate, & pay, to resolve this citywide flooding issue. As I said, reasonable people can look at the same data & reach a different conclusion. So my logic & my view, that this is a city wide issue may be wrong.
If you decide it is a Neighborhood/Water Basin Issue, & therefore only the respective residential & commercial entities in each Water Basin are to be assessed for the CIP’s in their specific Water Basin, then an impervious metric may be a part of the formula to determine who pays, and how much, in each water basin.
In summary, I do not think it appropriate to fund city wide flood mitigation, by charging homes differently than condos, & charging some condos, differently than other condos. In particular, when the potential funding reduction of $580,000 per year will have to be made up by increasing the rates for everyone else. It seems to me that a $12.01 monthly fee for each residential unit is both a very fair amount & an appropriate way to charge for city wide flood mitigation. Also, there already is a procedure available to apply for a 30% credit, reducing the fee to $8.41 per condo unit, if the condo qualifies by retaining water on their own property.