Stormwater Utility

New Stormwater Utility Fee

The Neighborhood Storage Improvement project, which will provide much needed flood relief to thousands of Wilmette residents, will be the single largest public works investment ever made by the Village. The project is estimated to cost $68 million and will require approximately $4 million in annual principal and interest debt repayments. In order to fund the debt service for the project a new revenue source was needed.

What is a Stormwater Utility fee?

A fee based on a property’s impervious surface area that will be used to cover the required debt repayments. Impervious area includes the building footprints, driveways, patios, and the like. Grass, planting beds and swimming pools are not considered impervious area.

Why was a stormwater fee selected?

A stormwater fee has two primary benefits:

  • It is a dependable and stable revenue source
  • It more accurately reflects a property’s impact on the storm sewer system

Click here to view a feasibility report on the stormwater utility.

To view the September 23 Committee of the Whole presentation about the stormwater utility fee, click here.

How will the fee be assessed?

Residential properties will be placed into one of three tiers based on the property’s impervious surface area.

  • Tier 1: Less than 3,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface area
  • Tier 2: 3,000 to 4,300 sq. ft. of impervious surface area
  • Tier 3: More than 4,300 sq. ft. of impervious surface area

How much will the fee cost me?

Single family households will pay a fee depending on their Tier. This fee will increase over time and the final rates will be based on the actual project costs and the interest rates
paid on the debt service. The 2020 annual rates are as follows and will be billed on your quarterly utility bill:

  • Tier 1: $118 (billed at $29.50 per quarter)
  • Tier 2: $144 (billed at $36 per quarter)
  • Tier 3: $186 (billed at $46.50 per quarter)

To check what tier your property falls into please search for your address in our Community Portal and click on the “Stormwater Bill Estimate”.

Do permeable pavers or other similar surfaces count towards my impervious surface calculation?

As currently measured all surface features (decks, patios, structures, driveways, etc.) are counted as impervious surface in terms of determining what rate tier a single-family property falls into. Surfaces such as driveways and walkways, whether they are made of traditional concrete/asphalt or permeable pavers, cause water runoff and have an impact on the stormwater system. While permeable pavers, and other similar materials, are better than traditional concrete/asphalt in terms of water runoff, they do still have an impact on stormwater (they can’t be equated to grass or other vegetation surfaces). Furthermore, such surfaces require extensive professional care and maintenance in order to be fully effective which cannot be properly examined nor verified by staff. With over 8,000 single-family properties in the Village, it would be logistically impossible for the Village to operate a stormwater utility fee based on impervious surface in which different types of surfaces were treated differently, or on the unique features of more than 8,000 parcels of property.   After extensive work with consultants and examination of many options, the Village Board concluded that a three-tiered fee schedule based on property size was the most practical and reasonable means of fairly apportioning costs.  It also is true that any exemptions or reductions granted to one property results in higher fees paid by all other property owners in order to generate sufficient revenue to pay for the stormwater system and improvements.

As a result of the factors mentioned above, the Ordinance outlining the stormwater utility fee’s administration will not include a residential credit or discount program. However, the Village does value efforts made by residents to make improvements on their property to lessen the impacts on stormwater management. Therefore, there will be other incentive programs made available to residents such as rain gardens, rain barrels, downspout disconnections, and other similar projects.

What if I feel my property should be in a different tier?

The Village is still in the process of finalizing the stormwater utility fee and its administration. You can submit a request online here or email stormwater@wilmette.com and more information will be provided to you when available. In your request, please indicate your address and what area on your property is in question.

When will the fee go into effect?

The fee will be effective January 1, 2020.

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