Storm Water Management Utility
A Storm Water Management Utility fee of $78.00 per year for each equivalent runoff unit is effective January 1, 2008.
In January 2004 the Village was issued its Storm Water Discharge Permit from the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Permit is an UNFUNDED MANDATE by the State imposed upon local municipalities to undertake measures to improve storm water quality. Storm water is rain water that travels over lawns and impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs, etc. and collects pollutants on the ground such as oil, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. The storm water and these pollutants then flow into the Village’s storm sewer system and ultimately into the Root River. The Root River then carries the water to Lake Michigan and other sources of drinking water. The DNR implemented the Permit requirement with the adoption of NR216 several years ago. The Storm Water Permitting requirements and NR216 currently apply to the larger, urban areas. However, they will ultimately affect every community in the State. The Village was included in the permitting process at this time along with the Village of Hales Corners, Cities of Franklin, Muskego, New Berlin and Racine, and Town of Caledonia due to our draining to the Root River. The Root River ultimately flows into Lake Michigan in Racine. In that all seven (7) communities flow to the Root River a group Storm Water Permit was obtained, however, each community has its own specific requirements. The Village has known of the Storm Water Permit requirements since the adoption of NR216 and has been in the planning/preparation phases since 2002. In 2002, the Village adopted the Village Storm Water Management Master Plan. As part of the Master Plan, the Village proposes numerous storm water improvement projects – including the construction of Storm Water Detention Ponds to collect storm water and have pollutants settle out naturally, increased street sweeping and catch basin cleaning to collect pollutants before they flow down the storm sewer system, etc.
In order to fund the cost of Village’s Storm Water Management efforts, the Village created Storm water Management Utility. A Storm Water Management Utility is similar to any other utility authorized by State Statutes and allows the Village to allocate back the costs back onto ALL the properties in the Village that contribute to the storm sewer system. Storm water Management Utilities are a fair and equitable method of funding the Village’s storm water management activities because all those that “contribute” or drain storm water into the system will be charged. This included those properties that are tax exempt such as the Village, Milwaukee County, the State Department of Transportation, churches, Greendale Schools, etc. It is also a fair method of financing in that many of these tax exempt parcels have large areas of impervious surface (surfaces that do not allow water to enter the ground) including roofs, parking lots, etc. such that they are large “contributors” of storm water.
The Village Engineer, Mr. Len Roecker and staff, have reviewed the Village’s topographic data and aerial photography to determine the amount of storm water each parcel in the Village contributes. The amount of contribution was calculated based on the amount of impervious surface each parcel has. Upon review, the Village Engineer determined that the average single family residential parcel in the Village has 3,941 sq. ft. of impervious surface (roofs, driveways, patios, etc.). This average was established as the “Equivalent Runoff Unit” or ERU. Each single family residential parcel is considered an ERU and will be billed the same. Multi-family parcels tend to be smaller in size and will be charged ½ ERU per residential unit. Therefore, each ½ of a duplex would be charged ½ of an ERU. Non-residential parcels are charged proportionately on the amount of impervious surface they have to a single family residential parcel or ERU (3,941 sq. ft.). The more impervious surface the larger the fee, therefore a parcel with a large parking lot will have a proportionately larger Storm Water Management Utility fee. Undeveloped parcels do not have a Utility fee in that they are not considered to contribute storm water.
An appeal and review process of the Storm water Management Utility ERU’s assigned to each parcel is provided under Village Ordinance. Property owners believing the Village has calculated them as having too many ERU’s may appeal to the Village Manager and demonstrate with engineering and other data that the amount of impervious surface is less than calculated by the Village.
Village Ordinance also DOES allow for parcels to receive “credits” in the form of lower fees if they take measures to improve their own storm water quality on site before draining off. Parcels that have storm water detention ponds on site to collect their own storm water will receive a credit.
For more information:
Contact Rob McFaul, Director of Public Works for more information on the Storm Water Management Utility at 414-423-2133.