The Village proposes to use a stormwater utility to fund the balance of the flood management project that cannot be supported through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Although a stormwater utility fee will appear on annual tax bills, it is a dedicated fee that can only be used to fund flood management and stormwater activities.
A stormwater utility is an organizational tool that provides for the planning and financing of the Village’s flood management plan. The stormwater utility has a separate fund to account and budget for these infrastructure improvements within the Village’s existing governmental structure. The stormwater utility is similar to a local sewer utility. More information can be found in the stormwater utility ordinance (PDF), which enables the Village to implement the stormwater utility concept.
Stormwater utility fees are based on the share of stormwater runoff generated by each parcel of land within the Village. The fees are designed to charge customers of the stormwater utility in reasonable proportion to their actual contribution of runoff to the stormwater system. Charges for the stormwater utility are based on an “Equivalent Runoff Unit” (ERU), which is the amount of impervious surface on a typical residential parcel in the Village. Impervious areas are surface areas that do not allow stormwater to soak into the ground, which includes areas paved with concrete, asphalt and areas covered by buildings. In Elm Grove, an ERU is defined as 4,660 sq. ft.
The fee structure of the utility provides equitable conditions for all property owners within the Village. Costs for the utility are shared based on use and contribution rather than property value. This method also requires that all tax-exempt properties contribute to the utility, as many of these properties are large contributors to stormwater runoff. A service charge study (PDF), explaining the reason behind the stormwater utility, is available for review. The Village’s contracted engineering firm, Ruekert and Mielke, prepared this study.
All residential property owners will receive a stormwater utility charge once a year with their property tax statement. Non-residential property owners will receive a charge every quarter added to their current quarterly sanitary sewer bill. The first stormwater utility bills were distributed to residential property owners in December of 2004. Nonresidential property owners received their first quarterly sewer bill in 2005. Fees will be evaluated annually and may be reduced if the Village receives additional grant funding.