UPDATE: The Village Board voted to move forward with the contract with RA Smith to study the potential fee structure for the storm water runoff fees.
ORIGINAL STORY: Residents may be one step closer to being charged a user fee for storm water runoff projects.
In a 3 to 0 vote, members of the Storm Sewer Utility District met Wednesday night will recommend hiring a consulting firm to study how the Village can calculate a storm sewer user fee.
Currently the village funds the projects through a tax levy, but they are looking at doing away with the tax levy and instead charging a user fee so that all property owners pay to fund capital, maintenance, operational and compliance-based projects.
Commission members Tony Minto and Jeremy Hinds abstained from voting on the recommendation because they work for two of the eight firms that bid on the project.
Members of the utility district approved a proposal from R.A. Smith National to study how the fee could be calculated. However, the board will still need to give their final approval before the study can be started.
The firm will measure the amount of impervious surfaces each housing unit has to determine the storm sewer fee. The study will cost taxpayers $37,350.
However, assistant engineer Tony Bunkelman explained that the fee would include studying all 11,000 properties in the village, but they could reduce the cost by doing a representative sample as a benchmark for establishing the fee.
“We chose this firm because were confident that this firm can explain to the residents how we’ll use the (fee formula),” Bunkelman said.
In June the village board approved the concept and has asked a Village staff member to put together a draft request for a proposal to fund a study, which has an estimated cost of $25,000.
Schools, churches, and property owned by non-profit organizations are some of the largest contributors to water run-off, but they don’t pay taxes, Bunkelman explained.
He proposed replacing the current tax levy and having all property owners pay a user fee based on an equivalent residential unit (ERU) formula.
If the study receives the needed approval from the board, they expect to have it completed by February.