No. The storm water user fee is a utility fee and not a tax. For residential properties, driveways have been included as part of the impervious surface that has been averaged into the calculation to determine the storm water user fee. For non-residential properties, driveways will be included in determining the amount of impervious surface on which the storm water user fee is based. Public roads and rights-of-way are exempt from the storm water user fee.
Are there any possible credits available?
The only credit available to residential properties is the Small Homes Credit. Other credits are available to non-residential properties. The Town of Smyrna has adopted a Storm Water Utility Credit and Adjustment Policy Manual to provide an avenue and process for determining and administering credits and necessary adjustments.
Are there any properties in the Town that do not pay a storm water fee?
All public rights of way, public streets and public roads, public alleys, public sidewalks and public greenways, public “park and ride” facilities and bus stops, and railroad right of way properties within the Town of Smyrna are considered exempt, and thus, no storm water user fee is assessed for those properties.
Can I find out if there is a sex offender living near me?
Do I need to register my alarm for my home/business?
No. There is no need in the Town of Smyrna to register your alarm, but there is an alarm ordinance. For more than three false alarms in a calendar year, whether set off intentionally, accidentally, or due to malfunction of the alarm system, a citation will be issued.
Do mosquitoes breed in the storm water ponds?
Yes. If a detention pond is not properly maintained and holds water longer than seventy-two hours there is a possibility that the pond will cause mosquitoes to breed. These ponds are to be inspected regularly by the Town under federal and state laws.
Does the Post Office pay a storm water fee?
Does the Town of Smyrna pay a storm water fee for Town owned property?
How does the Town currently pay for its storm water services?
Money from the Town’s General Fund, which is revenue derived from property and sales taxes collected by the Town, currently pays for the limited amount of storm water services the Town can currently afford. Storm water must compete for these funds with other Town services such as parks, roads, libraries, and police and fire protection. These funds are not always available, and we must develop a dedicated revenue stream. The storm water user fee provides a reliable and fair method for collecting monies in order to allow the Town to provide increased and improved storm water management services.
How much money will this fee raise?
It is anticipated that the fee will generate approximately 1.35 million dollars per year. An exact figure cannot yet be provided as there may be credits and adjustments made along the way.
How often will the fee be updated/changed?
The fee will be set from time to time by ordinance in the fee schedule as adopted by the Town Council. The budget for the storm water utility fund, its revenues and expenditures, will be examined on a yearly basis in accordance with the budget process for the Town of Smyrna. The basis for the fee will be examined no less than every five years.
How will the billing process work?
Each parcel within the town limits shall be charged a storm water user fee based on the classifications in the ordinance. Residential properties will see a storm water user fee included on their regular water and/or sewer utility bill. If a property does not have either water or sewer provided by the Town of Smyrna or Consolidated Utility District, then the property owner will receive a separate storm water user fee bill from the Town of Smyrna. Non-residential properties will be billed in the same manner. Multi-tenant non-residential units may be billed individually if the unit is individually metered for water and/or sewer service. If the multi-tenant non-residential unit is part of a property that is master metered, then the customer of record for the master meter will receive a storm water user fee billing for the entire property.
How will you decide which storm water projects/improvements get done first?
The Public Works Department, with the input of the Town Council, will prioritize storm water management projects based on need, recommendations, and the requirements for compliance with the mandate from the federal and state government. Storm water management projects will also have to be prioritized based on the ability of the Town to pay for the cost of the project.
I am renting an apartment or house. Do I have to pay this charge?
Multi-tenant residential properties will be billed the minimum charge, the same as the single family residential fee, if the apartment unit is individually metered. If the apartment complex is master metered, then the customer of record for the master meter will be billed a storm water user fee for the entire property.
Individuals or businesses which rent property will receive billing for the storm water user fee if the water and/or sewer meter is in the renter’s name. Property owners are obligated to pay storm water user fees. It will be up to the individual property owner and the renter to decide how to handle the assessed fee.
I have a detention pond on my property. Will the Utility become responsible for the maintenance of the pond?
No. The Town of Smyrna has adopted a Dry Detention Basin Policy, and at this time, maintenance remains the responsibility of the property owner on which the detention pond is located.
I have a septic tank. Why should I pay this fee?
Wastewater, such as is treated by the septic tank, is not the same as storm water. Septic tanks do not process and handle storm water. The storm water utility fee is used specifically to address town wide storm water issues. A septic tank is used to treat wastewater at a specific location. This wastewater is water that comes out of individual households or businesses. Properties that use septic tanks are not charged for sanitary sewer service; however, having a septic tank does not address the necessity of storm water management. It should be noted that properties that are connected to the sanitary sewer system do pay for the sanitary sewer service as well as the storm water utility fee.
I have made inquiries of the Town regarding drainage issues on or near my property for sometime and nothing is done. Will you fix the problem now?
Some drainage complaints that the Town receives are for problems on private property that the Town has no authority to address. The existence of a Storm Water Utility will not change that. There are, however, historical problems located on public property or which impact private property within public drainage easements, which problems can be addressed as a result of the Storm Water Utility.
I have recently bought a new child restraint seat. I want to make sure that I have it installed.
You may come by the Police Department anytime Monday through Friday between the hours of 7am and 5pm. Our traffic officers are certified on child restraint seats, and they will gladly check yours to see that it is properly installed.
I live on a farm on a huge lot and the water never runs off my site. How can you justify billing me?
It would be a rare situation for any property owner to be able to guarantee with 100% certainly that no water of any kind ever left property boundaries. As noted previously, providing for and addressing storm water is a public service provided for by the Town of Smyrna. All buildings, even farms, contain impervious surfaces (a surface which prevents water from being infiltrated). Impervious surfaces on your parcel inevitably place a demand on the storm water system. Storm water runoff generated by any property must be controlled and conveyed once it leaves the property so that it does not create problems for others. Both the quantity of storm water and the quality of storm water, i.e. making sure pollutants are limited, impact the entire storm water system for the Town of Smyrna. The Town of Smyrna has adopted a classification for agricultural properties. Please check the Storm Water Utility Fee Ordinance to see if your parcel fits in this classification.
I would like someone from the Police Department to come give a talk to a group/start a neighborhood watch.
Call (615) 459‐6644 and ask for Sgt. Bobby Gibson. He will gladly arrange the proper person for your group/neighborhood watch.
I would like to compliment an officer/employee for a job well done. How do I do that?
I would like to learn more about the Smyrna Police Department. How do I do that?
Once a year we host a Citizens Police Academy where citizens can learn more about the job and the duties of all the personnel at the Police Department. It is held in January, so check our website often to see when applications are being accepted. You must pass a criminal background check to be approved.
I would like to make a complaint on an officer. How do I do that?
If you wish to make a complaint about the actions of a Smyrna police officer or about any aspect of Smyrna police operations, please do one of the following:
Come to the Police Department, 400 Enon Springs Road East, and tell any employee that you want to make a complaint.
Call the Police Department, (615) 459‐6644, and tell the dispatcher answering the phone that you want to make a complaint.
Come by the Police Department and fill out a formal complaint form.
Any Smyrna Police Department supervisor will assist you in completing a complaint against a police officer. You will be asked to identify yourself and then to give specific details about your complaint.
Your complaint will then be investigated. You may be contacted and asked additional questions about your complaint. If it is going to take a long period of time to investigate your complaint, you will receive a letter telling you approximately when you may expect a reply.
When your complaint has been investigated, the Chief of Police will review the investigation and will write you a letter explaining what has been found out about the matter.
I would like to report a crime or a traffic issue. How do I do that?
Call (615) 459‐6644, and a dispatcher will take your information and dispatch appropriate personnel to your scene. You can remain anonymous but realize our phone lines are recorded and can be public record. If this is an emergency, please call 911.
If I disagree with the amount I am being charged, what do I do?
If I rent an apartment in the loft of a commercial building how will I be charged?
Such units shall be charged as non-residential. Multi-tenant non-residential units may be billed individually if the unit is individually metered for water and/or sewer service. If the multi-tenant nonresidential unit is part of a property that is master metered, then the customer of record for the master meter will receive a storm water user fee billing for the entire property the storm water user fee will be included. Again, property owners are obligated to pay storm water user fees. It will be up to the individual property owner and the renter to decide how to handle the assessed fee.
Is the storm water utility fee considered a tax?
No, the storm water utility fee is not a tax. It is a utility fee generated to maintain the storm water utility system and fund the compliance with the federal mandate. It is user based, and the fee is based on contribution to the storm sewer system.
Is the storm water utility fee legal?
Yes, storm water utility fees are legal. Although storm water utility fees have been challenged in the past, state and federal courts have ruled that storm water utility fees are necessary to maintain the public storm water system and represent an equitable way for the community to share the cost of a public service. They are becoming more and more common throughout the United States.
Is this just another tax in disguise?
While it is true that you are now paying a fee that you didn’t have to pay in the past, the storm water user fee is a UTILITY fee, not a tax. The storm water user fee is not much different from sanitary sewer, water, or other utilities fees. Because the Town is being forced to spend more money on storm water management than we have in the past, the additional cost had to be passed along to citizens. This new cost is technically a user fee rather than a tax. Had the Town opted to simply pay the additional costs by raising property taxes, the increased cost to the average homeowner would have been more than what you’re paying now through the new utility fee. This is because a user fee can be charged to tax-exempt properties, thereby spreading the cost out over a larger number of people and businesses.
My vehicle has been impounded or seized. How do I retrieve it?
When the vehicle was seized, you were given a State of Tennessee Notice of Property Seizure and Forfeiture of Conveyances form. Halfway down the page is Category I – Narcotics Related. This paragraph explains that if you choose to file for your interest in the property, you will have to do so with the Department of Safety, Legal Division, which is located at 1150 Foster Avenue, Nashville, TN.
The first thing that will happen is that you will receive a letter in the mail from the Department of Safety that you will have to sign. From the date you sign for this letter, you will have 30 days to file a claim. A claim is filed with the Department of Safety with the payment of a cost bond which is $350. This can only be paid with a money order or cashier’s check. If you cannot afford to pay the bond, you will be able to file a pauper’s oath. The Department of Safety will determine if you qualify for this.
After you have filed, there are two ways you can handle your case. One way is to simply wait for your court date. The other way is to contact Captain Todd Spearman of the Detective Division and attempt to reach a settlement. This settlement must be approved by a Judge. If you wish to settle your seizure, please call Captain Spearman at (615) 459‐9742, extension 2378, Monday through Friday. He will gladly explain the process to you.
What happens if the Town does nothing or refuses to comply with the mandate?
Should the Town choose not to comply with the mandate, penalties for willful non-compliance can reach up to $25,000 per day each day a separate offense or imprisonment, or both. Penalties assessed for violation of the mandate would inevitably be passed on to the citizens in the form of higher tax rates.
What is a storm water utility fee?
A storm water utility fee is similar to a water or sewer utility fee. In essence, customers pay a fee to convey storm water from their properties. The Town of Smyrna’s storm water user fee is the result of an unfunded mandate from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation (TDEC) on storm water discharges. This fee is used to finance annual compliance with the mandate.
What is the storm water drainage system?
The storm water drainage system is the system that collects, conveys, stores or otherwise treats or affects storm water or surface water. It can include a network of underground pipes and open channels designed for flood or drainage control which discharge straight to a receiving water body.
What was the process for establishing the storm water user fee?
The storm water user fee is based on a property’s impervious surface area. Impervious areas include rooftops, driveways, parking lots, patios, sidewalks, out buildings and other surfaces which impede the infiltration of storm water. Using the Town’s Geographic Information System (GIS) and aerial photography, all impervious surfaces in the Town were measured. Based on a study of the residential properties, the average square feet of impervious surface was determined to be 3,543, also referred to as the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU).
Where can I pick up a copy of a police report?
You can come to the Police Department which is located at the Justice Center, 400 Enon Springs Road East, between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday through Friday excluding holidays. There is a small charge of fifteen cents per page. If it is an accident report, please allow three days from the date of the accident to get your copy.
Who else is paying a storm water utility fee?
Every parcel owner in the Town is responsible for paying a storm water utility fee including City, State and Federal government parcels and public institutions, and commercial and industrial parcel owners. Only exempt properties, such as public roads, are not charged. Other municipalities across the United States and in Tennessee, including the cities of Murfreesboro, Franklin, LaVergne, Johnson City, Dyersburg, Maryville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, to name a few, have implemented a storm water utility fee. Metro Nashville/Davidson County is currently considering the implementation of a storm water utility fee.
Why are churches and schools being billed?
Churches and schools, just like government and other non-profit agency buildings, impact storm water utility systems just like commercial and industrial sites. Providing for and addressing storm water is a public service provided for by the Town of Smyrna. All buildings contain impervious surfaces (a surface which prevents water from being infiltrated). Impervious surfaces on the parcels of churches and schools also place a demand on the storm water system. Storm water runoff generated by any property must be controlled and conveyed once it leaves the property so that it does not create problems for others. Both the quantity of storm water and the quality of storm water, i.e. making sure pollutants are limited, impact the entire storm water system for the Town of Smyrna. The storm water user fee is a utility fee, similar to water and sewer. Schools and churches have water, sewer and other utility fees; the storm water fee should be handled similarly.
Why are the storm water and sewer systems separate?
Unlike wastewater, which is treated before it is released back into the environment, storm water goes directly into a community's ponds, streams and lakes. Because storm water comes in large amounts at unpredictable times, treating it as wastewater would be very expensive.
Why do I see multiple patrol cars on a wreck?
On most cases involving an accident, there is a large amount of work to do in regards to drawing the accident to scale. By scale, we mean making sure all measurements are correct and that it reflects the correct speed and what the vehicles were doing before, during and after the impact.
We realize this inconveniences individuals but we want to make sure that our accident reports are done correctly so there is less difficulty afterward for all parties involved in the accident. The more individuals working the accident, the faster it will be cleared, and the faster traffic can flow.
Why do we need to spend more for storm water?
Historically, the allocation of funds has not been sufficient to address all of the Town’s storm water service needs. Although the Town has done a good job providing storm water services on a limited budget, the backlog of storm water projects has grown and additional maintenance activities are required. Local, state and federal laws also require that municipalities address the environmental impacts of storm water pollution, but do not provide the funds to do it. Consequently, the Town must investigate alternative means for raising revenue.
Why have cities implemented these programs?
Federal and state regulations require the Town of Smyrna to address the amount of runoff and the pollution carried by the water that is deposited, untreated, into our creeks, streams, and rivers. Storm water quality management programs are responses to regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) connected to the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations require cities with more than 100,000 (Phase I) people to obtain a permit under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System and to create a comprehensive program to seek out and eliminate, to the maximum extent practical, pollutants carried by storm water.
Why is this issue being addressed at this time?
In addition to meeting the city’s current storm water needs, Smyrna’s new storm water revenue will provide the Town with the funding and tools necessary to meet the federal and state regulatory requirements.
Why should I pay for rain falling on my property?
You are not paying a fee for rain falling on your property. You are being charged a utility service fee for the cost and privilege of discharging storm water into the public storm water system, which the Town is obligated under law to maintain. With a storm water rate, users are charged a fee for runoff discharged from their property to the Town’s storm water management system, not by the amount of rain falling on their property. Property owners control the level of development on their properties, which directly impacts the runoff characteristics of the parcel.
Will the creation of a Storm Water Utility result in a reduction of my property taxes?
No. Historically, only a small amount of general fund revenues have been allocated to storm water management activities. These limited dollars will simply be absorbed into other expanding programs such as our Fire and Police Departments.