Stormwater Management Utility Fee
The City of Polk City passed a Stormwater Management Utility Ordinance on January 11, 2020. The new Stormwater Service rates shall be effective in the month of March 2021, payable in April 2021, assessed as outlined below:
1. Residential: A storm sewer availability charge will be charged at $3.00 per month
2. Commercial/Industrial: A storm sewer availability charge will be charged at $3.00 per ERU per month up to a maximum of 65 ERUs
The purpose of the ordinance is to establish a utility responsible for stormwater management within the corporate boundaries of the City of Polk City and provide for the management, protection, control, regulation, use and enhancement of stormwater systems and facilities.
What is a stormwater utility fee?
Stormwater management fees are billed monthly to all customers to fund the City’s Stormwater Management Program and facilities. Stormwater utility charges to properties are based on that property’s need for stormwater management and facilities. Property owners are charged stormwater management fees based on the total impervious surface area on the property but no less than one ERU per dwelling unit. This impervious area includes driveways, rooftops, sheds, and other paved areas.
What is an ERU?
An ERU (equivalent residential unit) is a measure of impervious surface on a property. The City of Polk City has established one ERU as 3,500 square feet of impervious surface. The ERU measurement can vary from one municipality to another. Based on a 2017 Utility Fee Survey conducted by Iowa Storm Water Education Partnership (ISWEP) with responses from 63 participating communities the average ERU was found to be 3,976 sq. ft. with an average rate of $4.01 per ERU.
Do other cities have stormwater user-fees?
Many municipalities in Iowa and across the country have established stormwater utilities to fund their stormwater management programs and facilities. The 2017 Utility Fee Survey conducted by ISWEP found the average user fee per 1-ERU is $4.01 with a range from $2.00 to $11.50 per 1-ERU. This does not take into account the different fees each municipality charge for different land uses
Who pays the fees?
Owners of all developed land in the City of Polk City will pay the stormwater utility fee. This includes residential properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, churches, schools and other non-profit organizations. Undeveloped land is not charged stormwater utility fees because it does not have impervious surfaces.
How is a stormwater utility fee different from a tax?
The stormwater utility fee is a user fee, much like the fee that you pay for your water utility or sanitary sewer utility services. Users of these services are charged for the demand they place on the system. This user fee system is a fair and equitable way to raise revenue for the program since it charges those who directly contribute to its need.
The stormwater that flows off your property places a demand on a vast system of stormwater infrastructure, which is costly to operate and maintain. Existing water utility fees do not pay for stormwater management. However, the problem of water pollution has called attention to the need for greater safeguards in the management of stormwater. The City must minimize the impacts of flooding and stormwater pollution from the runoff generated from rooftops, yards, parking lots, and streets.
How will the stormwater management fees be used?
The stormwater management fees pay for operations and maintenance costs of the Stormwater Management Programs and facilities. Some of the services tied to the Stormwater Management Program include the provision of adequate systems of collection, conveyance, detention, treatment, and release of stormwater; the reduction of hazard to property and life resulting from stormwater runoff and flooding; improvement in general health and welfare through reduction of undesirable stormwater conditions and flooding; and improvement to the water quality in the stormwater and surface water systems and its receiving waters.
Will the City offer a Best Management Practice (BMP) Reimbursement Program?
In the future the City may provide a BMP reimbursement program that could possibly aid with the purchase of rain barrels to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that leaves individual properties or other BMPs qualified for reimbursement such as rain gardens, bio-retention cells, permeable pavement, and soil quality restoration projects.
Keep an eye out for more information to come.