Stormwater Utility Fee

What is a Stormwater Utility Fee?

Stormwater originates from rain or melting snow or other activities involving outdoor water use, such as car washing or hosing off the driveway or sidewalk. Water that does percolate into the ground becomes stormwater run-off. Every property generates run-off and benefits from the Village infrastructure system that manages stormwater.

The utility fee model represents an equitable method of allocating the cost of improvements and maintenance of the stormwater management system. Those properties that place a greater demand on the system, pay a higher rate. The fee generates funds by charging all property owners a stormwater fee, based on the property's impact to the stormwater system. A property's impact is calculated based on the amount of impervious area on the property (i.e. structures, driveways, walkways). 

Funds generated by the utility can only be used for the maintenance, operations and improvement of the stormwater management system (i.e. storm sewer pipe and structures, detention/retention basins and structures, rain gardens/bioswales, etc.).

The fee is expected to appear on your water/sewer utility bill in mid-2023. 

Rates

The proposed fee structure was created using a unit a measurement called an equivalent runoff unit (ERU). One (1) ERU is equivalent to 3,762 square feet of impervious area, which was developed using impervious averages throughout Western Springs. 

The fee structure will be divided into three (3) rate tiers for residential properties:

Single family residential properties are separated into one of the three (3) tiers, based on the amount of impervious area on each property. The majority of single-family homes fall into the middle tier, at a rate of $17.50/month.   

Fees for multi-family properties (town homes, condos, apartments, etc.) are calculated based on the impervious area, divided amongst the property owners. For example, a townhome with 12,000 square feet of impervious area and five (5) property owners would divide the impervious area into 2,400 square feet/owner; making each owner in this example responsible for the Tier 1 rate. 

Fees for non-residential properties (businesses, schools, churches, Village properties, other governmental entities) are calculated directly by the amount of ERUs on a property multiplied by the cost of 1 ERU ($17.50). For example, a non-residential property with 52,000 SQFT of impervious will be charged based on the following calculation:

52,000 SQFT / 3,762SQFT = 14 ERUs

14 ERUs * $17.50 = $245/month (or $2,940/year)

The Village created an online, interactive, map that allows you to search for your property and review the impervious area calculation and proposed fee.* 

*Timber Trails data is being updated as the development of the subdivision is still on-going. The Village will update that information as information is received from the developer of the subdivision and from Cook County. 

**Current calculations may be inaccurate for homes built on 2 or more parcels of land. A fix for these specific cases is underway, and it is expected to go live by 2/2/23.

Credits Program

The Village is in the process of creating a credits program for properties that actively reduce impervious area or runoff. Possible credits will focus on volume control and include improvements such as detention basins, rain gardens, permeable pavement and cisterns. Once completed, the program will include information on the amount credit for each improvement, criteria for each type of improvement, and the process to apply. The credits program is expected to be available in early 2023. 

Background

The Finance Committee and Public Works & Water Committee met jointly throughout 2021 to review unfunded capital infrastructure projects. An estimated $30 million in stormwater related projects were identified with no existing funding source. The Joint Committee and Village Board, directed staff to explore the following technical studies:

  • Stormwater Utility Fee Study - Explore a potential funding source for unfunded projects and operations/maintenance of the stormwater management system.
  • Capital Infrastructure Plan/Financial Plan - Review all facets of the Village's infrastructure including, but not limited to, roadway, sewer (sanitary/storm), water distribution/production, sidewalk/bike, municipal facilities, streetscape, and fiber optic. The purpose of the study is to outline capital project costs, prioritizations, and funding options. 

In the fall of 2021 the Village issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Stormwater Utility Fee Study. The study was separated into two phases: Phase I - Feasibility of the fee in Western Springs (estimated rate structure, funding needs, etc.) and Phase II - Implementation of the fee into the community and organization (utility billing, public information/town halls, customer service, etc.). The Village Board reviewed a staff recommendation to award Phase I of the study to Raftelis at the November 8, 2021 Board Meeting. Phase I of the study was awarded to Raftelis at the November 22, 2021 Board Meeting. Raftelis and Village staff presented the results of Phase I at the June 2022 Board meeting (below). 

Phase II was awarded to Raftelis on July 11, 2022 and is currently underway. Completion of Phase II is expected to occur at the end of 2022. If adopted, the fee is expected to go into effect in early 2023. 

Public Process

  • November 5, 2020 - Joint Finance and Public Works and Water Committee Meeting - Initial review of outstanding, unfunded, capital projects. 
  • January 21, 2021 - Joint Finance and Public Works and Water Committee Meeting - Review of funding options available to the Village. 
  • May 3, 2021 - Joint Finance and Public Works and Water Committee Meeting - Review of funding options utilized by other municipalities. 
  • August 11, 2021 - Joint Finance and Public Works and Water Committee Meeting - Stormwater Utility Fee Study recommended by the joint committee. 
  • August 16, 2021 - Village Board Meeting - Review of Stormwater Utility Fee Study recommendation and consensus. 
  • November 4, 2022 Finance Committee Meeting - Raftelis recommended as consultant to complete study. 
  • November 8. 2022 Village Board Meeting - Request for Proposals reviewed and Raftelis recommendation. 
  • November 8. 2022 Village Board Meeting - Raftelis awarded Stormwater Utility Fee Study. 
  • June 13, 2022 Village Board Meeting - Stormwater Utility Fee Study Phase I Feasibility Presentation

*The volume of the presentation may need to be adjusted up when the Raftelis presentation begins (~17 minutes, 36 second) due to technical difficulties with the podium microphone.

  • June 24, 2022 Gathering on the Green - Staff was present at the Gathering on the Green to provide detailed information, answer questions, and collect feedback.
  • July 9, 2022 Ravinia in Ridgewood - Staff was present at the Ravinia in Ridgewood event to provide detailed information, answer questions, and collect feedback.
  • July 11, 2022 Village Board Meeting - Phase II (Implementation) of the Storm Water Utility Fee Study was awarded to Raftelis. 
  • November 3, 2022 Finance Committee Meeting - Staff presented recommendations for final fee structure, draft credits program, and the inclusion of all residential and non-residential properties. 

This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

  1. Casey Biernacki

    Deputy Village Manager
    Phone: (708) 246-1800 Ext. 123

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