Stormwater Utility Fee
Buffalo Grove utilizes a Stormwater Utility Fee in order to cover the cost of owning, maintaining, and improving the Stormwater Management System. The system is composed of storm sewers, creeks, waterways, and detention areas.
This utility fee is designed to:
This utility fee is designed to:
- Fund the stormwater system as a utility. Properties are charged based on their portion of use to fund improvements and operating expenses.
- Encourage onsite stormwater management and reduction of stormwater runoff.
- Increase overall awareness about the Village’s Stormwater Management System.
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The base fee is $.006950 per square feet of parcel area and is calculated as outlined below.
- Single family attached/detached is base fee x median lot size (8,771.66 sq. feet. All residential home owners pay $5.08/month or $60.96/year.
- Multi-family is base fee x property square footage
- Commercial/industrial/non-profit is base fee x property square footage
A stormwater fee is appropriate for the Village for a number of reasons:
- Fair – All properties that contribute runoff to the stormwater system will pay to fund the system. This includes properties inhabited by tax-exempt and not-for-profits.
- Equitable – The amount a property owner pays is based on how much their property type contributes to stormwater runoff.
- Transparent – The fees collected are used solely for stormwater activities and accounted for separately.
- Dependable – Provides a dependable revenue stream to provide sufficient revenues for stormwater improvements and allows for proactive management of the system resulting in the lowest cost over time.
The Village Board approved the fee on October 19, 2015 and it became effective on January 1, 2016.
The stormwater fees fund all aspects of the Village Stormwater Management System including: current operating and maintenance expenditures and any current or anticipated debt service associated with funding of Capital Projects. It should be noted that the Village has also funded some capital improvements for the Stormwater Management System from General Fund reserves, but the reserves will not be repaid by the stormwater fees.
The base rate is determined using the total parcel square footage of all parcels that contain impervious surfaces such as buildings, driveways, and parking lots, and the funds required to maintain and update the stormwater system.
All Property owners pay the same base rate ($.006950 per square foot of parcel size). The fee is applied through a tiered system which is described above. Though property owners (Single Family, Multi-Family, and Commercial) ultimately have different bill amounts as determined by their respective tier, the basis of the fee is consistent for all.
An impervious surface is an area within a parcel which prevents or significantly impedes the infiltration of stormwater into the soil. Common impervious areas include, but are not limited to, buildings, driveways (including paving, concrete, stone, gravel and dirt), parking lots, paved walkways, pools, patios, tennis and basketball courts, and other similar non-porous areas.
No, at this time there are no opportunities for stormwater fee credits.
The Stormwater Utility Fee is not a tax, but rather a user fee. This fee is generated to maintain the stormwater utility system and necessary capital improvements much like the fee that you pay for your water utility or sewer service. Users of these services are charged based on the demand they place on the system. The stormwater that flows off of your property places demand on a vast system of infrastructure which is costly to operate, maintain and improve. Stormwater must be channeled through a system of pipes and other devices before it can be safely discharged into local rivers, streams and lakes. A property’s value does not affect runoff, so property taxes are not the most equitable way to pay for stormwater services.
Properties within the Village which are tax-exempt such as other taxing bodies, schools and places of worship are assessed stormwater fees. .
After consideration of the three main types of rate bases employed by various utilities, the Village determined to use “impervious surface” as the rate base for Buffalo Grove’s stormwater fee. Impervious surface is defined as any surface that does not allow for the penetration of water, such as driveways, roofs, and sidewalks. It directly correlates with the amount of stormwater runoff a property generates, and therefore a property owner’s impact on the stormwater system. The Village has data on the actual impervious area for each parcel within Buffalo Grove, and establishing fees based on impervious area is generally accepted as an industry best practice.