Nobody cares about stormwater regulation until their property floods, as with the Pensacola subdivision shown in the graphic. Requiring contractors and homeowners to abide by stormwater regulations is one of the most thankless, yet most important jobs in government. It is also one of the most administratively demanding jobs in government. Stormwater regulators have to take special training and obtain special certifications. They have to run out to inspect properties quickly, so they don’t delay subdivision construction. And when it rains hard, they’re needed everywhere at once!
Those are some large burdens for John Ware, our one-person erosion and stormwater team (even though he gets a little help from the rest of us). In addition to his duties as a regulator, John has to manage our own stormwater system and be our general in-house expert on all of the natural sciences. Plus we have now tasked him with developing our brand-new GIS system, layer by layer, so future generations will have a good record of our infrastructure.
So for all of those reasons, we have asked Rockingham County to take over stormwater regulation. They’re really good at it, and they have a staff big enough to do it efficiently. If the transfer is approved by the Council and the Board of Supervisors this week, they will start doing inspections on March 1, and all application fees will be paid to them.* We think this transfer makes a lot of sense. It lets the big guys do what the big guys do best, and it allows your humble servants here to focus on those things which we can do best.
Lastly, we don’t have room in this column to thank John Ware enough. Stormwater regulation is a difficult job, and somehow, the regulator always ends up as the bad guy. John has carried Bridgewater’s banner forward through often flooded fields for years, and we are very grateful for his efforts. He will still be doing some great stuff for us, and we think he’ll even get to be the good guy occasionally.
We’ll keep you posted.
*Your monthly stormwater utility fee will still come to the Town. That isn’t an application fee–it goes toward paying for our stormwater system.