What does the Storm Water Utility fee pay for?
In late 2006, altthe Town of Vernon was issued a Storm Water Discharge Permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) relating to the operation of the storm water conveyance systems within the Town’s municipal boundary. The Storm Water discharge Permit is an unfunded mandate stemming from the Federal Government’s enactment of the Clean Water Act onto the States and ultimately onto local municipalities. In order to comply with the requirements of the permit, the Town will undertake numerous administrative, planning, maintenance and construction efforts to improve the Town’s storm water drainage systems and storm water quality management programs. The Storm Water Utility will finance these additional costs for the Town.
How are the Storm Water Utility fees determined?
The fee structure for the Utility is based on the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) method. An ERU is the average amount of horizontal impervious (non-water absorbing) area per single family property within the Town. The ERU method was chosen since 79% of the properties within the Town are residential. This means that only the remaining 21% of the Town’s non-residential parcels will need to be calculated for actual imperviousness. One (1) ERU is defined as 6,904 square feet of impervious surface. With this method all single family residential properties are charged a uniform fee of 1 ERU. The actual amounts of impervious surfaces are then calculated for all non-residential properties and the appropriate number of ERU’s is charged accordingly. If any residence has farming activities, then it is considered non-residential and the fee is calculated accordingly.
Why do residents have to pay this fee?
All properties within the Town contribute storm water to the Town’s drainage system. Runoff must be safely transported by the Town’s drainage system to prevent flooding of structures and roads. The Town’s Storm Water Utility District revenue will also be used to fund the administration, planning and maintenance of the Town’s storm water drainage systems and management programs to reduce urban pollution in storm water runoff. This applies to all properties in the Town – including the Town owned properties and other non-taxable properties such as churches and schools.
What surfaces are considered to be impervious?
Impervious surfaces are considered to be solid surfaces that prevent rainfall from infiltrating back into the ground, thus leading the rainfall to run off these surfaces in greater quantities, at higher velocities with an increased pollutant loading. Examples of impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to: driveways, rooftops, patios, porches, sidewalks, parking lots, loading docks and compacted gravel. In general, commercial, industrial and institutional properties that have larger buildings, larger parking lots, etc., will equate to multiple ERU’s and have larger fees.
How was the impervious area for each property determined?
The impervioualts area for each property was calculated using the Waukesha County year 2005 aerial photograph of the Town. To further capture any new development that was not shown in the year 2005 aerial, all building permits were obtained and reviewed from the years 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Why do properties under construction in 2013 have to pay a Storm Water Utility fee for the 2013 tax bill?
The Storm Water Utility Fee is a special assessment charge on the tax bill, which means that this fee is in advance of services for the next year. Properties that have pulled a building permit in the year 2013 are anticipated to have a building or structure completed in the year 2014.
Is this Storm Water Utility fee going to eventually go away?
It is not anticipated that this fee will be eliminated in the near future, as the DNR requirement for water quality will be getting even more stringent. However, the fees may vary from year to year based on the Town’s Storm Water Utility Budget and the actual amount of water quality projects that need to be performed.
How does the Storm Water Utility benefit the residents?
When storm water flows across driveways, parking lots, lawns and streets, it can pick up pollutants such as oil that leaks from vehicles, tire and brake lining wear, pesticides on lawns, leaves, etc. The storm water utility fees will pay for practices to help improve water quality and reduce flooding. A storm water utility also assures that there will be funding for the Town to pay for all storm water services it must provide.
Can I appeal this Storm Water Utility fee?
If you are a residential property owner that has been charged one (1) ERU, you are not eligible to appeal this user fee. Requests for adjustment of the user fee, including requests for Storm Water Utility Credits shall be limited to non-residential properties. Non-residential properties that meet the criteria outlined below may be eligible for a Storm Water Utility Adjustment:
1. Properties that can demonstrate that the actual amounts of impervious surfaces are not representative of existing conditions.
2. Properties which are not required to comply with Section 200-11(C), (F) and (I) of the Town’s Code of Ordinances which take mitigating steps to improve the quality of storm water discharge by implementing best management practices (ie. detention basin, infiltration basins, etc.) that reduce the average annual loading of total suspended solids from existing development by 40% or more and are designed and/or implemented in accordance with current WDNR requirements.
3. Properties that are internally drained.
Any non-residential customer who believes that their property is eligible for a Storm Water Utility Adjustment, may, within thirty (30) days of payment, submit a Request for Adjustment/Credit Form (available at the Town Hall and on Town webpage) to the Town. The customer requesting the adjustments may be required, at his/her own expense, to provide supplemental information to the Town Chairman or designee, including, but not limited to, survey data approved by a Registered Land Surveyor (R.L.S) and engineering reports approved by a Professional Engineer (P.E.). Failure to provide such information may result in a delay of the process or a denial of the adjustment request.
If you have any further questions regarding the Town’s Storm Water Utility Creation or your annual fee, visit the Town’s website and view the Storm Water Utility Creation Report: