New Positions Added to Stormwater Department

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Raleigh’s stormwater utility is so busy the department is adding four new positions to handle the workload.

On Tuesday, City Councilors approved staff’s request to add four permanent positions and reclassify two others, which will help the department handle the backlog of small stormwater projects.

The change will cost $97,000 this fiscal year and about $388,000 annually in future years.

There won’t be any increase in stormwater fees to fund the positions.

“We’re getting requests for stormwater projects faster than we have the people to get them done,” said Public Works Director Carl Dawson.

Stormwater flows from a gutter system along Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh.

Ariella Monti

Stormwater flows from a gutter system along Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh.

The additional project managers will be dedicated to small stormwater projects typically found in residents’ backyards, which only affect two or three homes, such as a pipe that needs to be repaired or replaced, or a stream restoration project.

Dawson said this will free up other staff to work on larger capital improvement projects.

One reason for the increase in volume, Dawson said, is a change in how the city charges residents for the repairs.

Residents were originally charged a flat 20 percent of cost of the project. Several years ago, the Council approved changing the fee to $5,000 or 20 percent, whichever is less.

The change made the projects more affordable and residents began requesting service and created a backlog.

The department is also adding a permanent IT position, which is currently contracted out, and removing the financial and budgetary responsibilities from one position and creating a separate position to divide those tasks.

Privately owned and maintained stormwater devices, such as those found in a residential subdivision, are required to have an annual inspection by a certified engineer, which is then submitted to the city. Dawson said that the addition of another inspector will allow the department to better audit those certifications.

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