Fountain Hills Environmental Fee

In late 2014, the Fountain Hills Town Council approved a $3 per month ($36 per year) environmental fee for each parcel of land in Fountain Hills. The Town Council has met and discussed the possibility of an environmental fee dating back to 2007. After discussing and reviewing other options at 18 separate meetings, the Town Council voted on November 20, 2014, to approve a $3 per month fee per parcel to offset the costs of an Environmental Program for the Town.

The environmental fee revenue will support a number of important environmental programs, many of which are mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Clean Water Act and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Government mandated requirements the Town must undertake are street sweeping, dust control, dam inspection and maintenance and securing EPA/ADEQ permits. The environmental fee will also help pay for additional safety items such as storm water management, wash drainage and maintenance, on-call storm damage cleanup and a household hazardous waste collection day for residents.
  1. Background
  2. Pubic Open House
  3. Environmental Program Costs
  4. Annual Billing
  5. Related Documents
Background

Unlike cities and towns that have environmental fees that are passed along to residents in their water and sewer bills, the Town of Fountain Hills does not operate its own water and sewer utilities and is unable to pass along these fees to residents on their utility bills. The Town attempted to work with utility providers EPCOR Water, Fountain Hills Sanitary District, and Republic Services to bill their customers for the environmental fee, but since the environmental fee was based on a cost per parcel rather than utility accounts, billing arrangements with the utilities could not be worked out.

After analyzing other billing options for managing the distribution and collection of approximately 15,000 bills, it was determined it would be more cost effective to contract with a company with expertise in billing services versus the Town performing the billing and collections itself. The Town issued a Request for Proposals process to multiple companies that could assist the town in billing for the environment fee. Town staff evaluated a proposal from AMS Billing Services (AMS) and concluded that it not only met the contractual town requirements but also had expertise in similar types of municipal billings around the country. The estimated annual cost for AMS to manage the entire billing and collection process is $85,000.

Following the award of a contract to AMS, the company initiated an implementation plan to prepare and mail the environmental fee bills to all Fountain Hills parcel owners in early January 2016. Town staff has worked with AMS to develop a bill format and methods of payment. AMS will send a mailing on behalf of the Town of Fountain Hills to introduce the environmental fee and explain the bills residents will be receiving in January.

The new environmental fee will help the Town pay for complying with federal and state mandates as well as other important services designed to maintain the safety of residents in the Town of Fountain Hills. Without the fee revenue, the Town of Fountain Hills could find itself paying hefty fines for non-compliance of these mandates or possibly reducing other town services in order to pay for these services.

The Town has scheduled Open House Meetings for residents to attend and learn more about the environmental fee.