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Orange County looking into ‘stormwater utility fee’

On Tuesday, Orange County’s public works department updated commissioners on stormwater management. Public Works Deputy Director Brett Blackadar talked about what they are doing and researching, especially after last year’s devastating floods.

In Orlo Vista, the county is digging a deeper retention pond, installing a pump station and more pipes to prevent the flooding the area saw last year during Hurricane Ian. Blackadar said the construction project is supposed to be done by fall 2024, though residents could start to see the benefits this year.

“A majority of the people that flooded last time will not experience any flooding,” Blackadar said. “There's some minor flooding that may still happen if we got a Hurricane Ian again, but that is designed for the ‘100-year storm.’ Ian was over a 100-year storm.”

Blackadar told commissioners that Orange County may need more work like this throughout the county; it depends on what public works finds out. They are starting a rainfall intensity study this summer to see if storms are now bringing in more rain which would mean more places are needed to hold that water.

“It is potential that it could impact the developmental property if you had increased stormwater requirements,” Blackadar said. “It's a concern that we're certainly going to look at before we make changes.”

The county is also looking into whether Orange County should implement a stormwater utility fee. The city of Orlando has one where people pay about $10 per month. Blackadar said the stormwater utility fee generated almost $25 million for Orlando last year.