Austin Drainage Charge Calculation

October 21st, 2015

The City of Austin has a web page dedicated to information about the City’s Drainage Charge:

The site now contains a map-based tool that should be useful to everyone who is interested in how the fee will affect that individual’s utility bill beginning November 2015. It’s called “Find My Drainage Charge” and it provides specific information for individual properties in the City.

The button to access it is dominantly located on the drainage charge home page. In the first paragraph on the home page under the heading, “Drainage Charge Estimates,” is a link to a 4-minute tutorial that explains the tool and how to use it. The tool itself also contains simple directions – it’s fairly intuitive. Opening the “I want to” drop-down and clicking on “Find My Drainage Charge” will provide a box into which you can type an address.

The tool will then list your estimated monthly charge. If the property is single family residential and the calculated charge is greater than the uniform residential rate of $9.80 this past year, the figure listed farther down will apply for this fiscal year – that fee reduces the increase by half.

Also listed will be characteristics of the property that are used to determine the fee: the size of the total property; the measured amount of impervious cover; the percentage of impervious cover; and the adjustment factor that derives from the percent impervious cover. If the property has been developed prior to January 2012, an aerial photo appears that shows the associated impervious cover that was measured. The photo will not appear if development occurred later since the aerial photos were flown in January 2012.

An additional caveat: almost all residents of apartments (5+ units) will no longer see the charge on their City utility bills, so this tool is unlikely to provide information that will be particularly useful to them. Many businesses located on properties with 2 or more tenants may be in the same situation. However, the property owners and managers will benefit from the information. Residents of duplex properties can divide the estimated monthly charge by 2. Residents of triplexes and fourplexes can divide by 3 or 4.

If anyone has questions about the fee for any particular property, he/she should first contact the City’s Customer Care Call Center at 512-494-9400. That way the calls can be documented and tracked properly. The calls will be referred to drainage charge specialists when necessary.

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