New Brunswick, New Jersey, creates stormwater utility

June 25, 2024
The city of New Brunswick, New Jersey, has created a stormwater utility to help with flooding.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, is taking action to protect the environment and manage the effects of storms and water runoff. Some of these efforts include stormwater compliance, infrastructure development and flood mitigation to preserve the quality of life and property for the residents of New Brunswick.

According to a press release, the region has experienced a greater frequency and intensity of large storms in recent years. The city is now facing increased stormwater runoff due to the large storms.

The new stormwater utility will directly address the growing problem of runoff with an expanded physical system and an ever-improving modernization plan, according to Mayor Jim Cahill.

New Brunswick sits in the Raritan Basin and grapples with the constant threat of flooding, demanding extra measures and resources during storms, all while navigating stringent state and federal regulations.

The city plans to invest over $7 million in stormwater mitigation over six years. Currently, the costs fall disproportionately on taxpayers due to the exemption of 51% of city and land from property taxes, leaving them solely responsible for funding water management projects.

The introduction of a stormwater utility seeks to rectify the imbalance, ensuring all property owners contribute to stormwater management costs. The system will assess charges based on stormwater runoff estimates, known as Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs).

The cost for an ERU is $$77 a year. Each parcel in the city is subject to the minimum fee of one ERU. With each parcel subject to a minimum fee, most homes in New Brunswick would incur a quarterly charge of $19.25.

Anticipating an annual revenue of $1.5 million, the utility aims to distribute costs fairly across all entities within the city. Funded in the 2024 budget, the stormwater utility is set to be implemented in July, with billing cycles commencing in the Fall.