The stormwater utility is a stand-alone city utility that is used to pay for capital improvements, operations, maintenance and meeting federal/state permit obligations. Previously a property owner’s bill was determined by gross parcel area with a typical residential bill set at approximately $60/year. However, in July 2016, the City Council voted to change the method of billing to be more equitable, incentivize good stormwater management and simplify the administration of the utility. Rates are now based on the quantity of hard surface area(s) on each parcel. These would include rooftops, parking lots and driveways. This method is generally accepted nationwide as being an appropriate and equitable method of measuring how much each property benefits from the City’s stormwater conveyance system.
Hard surface (or “impervious area”) is measured in units called “ERUs” or “Equivalent Residential Units”. 1 ERU is equivalent to 1/10th acre of impervious area and is currently charged at $0.2013/day/ERU, regardless of the land use (residential, commercial, industrial etc.).
As part of the changes instituted, an expanded incentive program was also included. An ERU reduction request application form can be submitted if a property owner would like to take steps to reduce his/her stormwater utility fee. In addition to a property owners ability to reduce their monthly stormwater utility fee, the City also has a cost share program to help property owners pay for the installation of Stormwater Best Management Practices.
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Furthermore, the City Council allowed for a transition from the old billing system to the new one, for property owners with large quantities of impervious area. Specifically, a property owner would pay a capped rate until 2022 or when the cap is larger than a property’s actual ERU count. The caps are as follows:
FY17 (July 2016 to June 2017) – 100 ERU Cap
FY18 (July 2017 to June 2018) – 200 ERU Cap
FY19 (July 2018 to June 2019) – 300 ERU Cap
FY20 (July 2019 to June 2020) – 400 ERU Cap
FY21 (July 2020 to June 2021) – 500 ERU Cap
FY22 (July 2021 to June 2022) – All lots charged their full ERU rate.