City of Urbana Storm Water
Brent Zerkle - Storm Water Coordinator
What is Storm Water?
Storm Water occurs following a precipitation event, such rain or snow. Pollutants are picked up as water moves over streets, driveways and yards. These pollutants consist of automotive fluids, fertilizers, herbicides, grass clippings, leaves, bacteria from pet wastes, soil from construction sites, etc.
Storm Water Utility
Until recently, there was no dedicated revenue stream for the city to undertake the daily operation, maintenance, and repair of the city’s stormwater system. In the past, the city has had to use dollars from other funds to fund these needs. In many years, the yearly street paving program was reduced in cost and scope to allow for the completion of necessary stormwater projects. Furthermore, in regards to maintenance of the stormwater system, maintenance has only been reactive due to limited resources being available for the cleaning and repair of catch basins, street sweeping, and ditch maintenance.
To study how to best fund the long term fiscal needs of the stormwater system of the city, Urbana City Council established the Stormwater Advisory Committee in late 2016. This committee which was comprised of residents, landlords, business owners, non-profit/governmental organizations, and industries held six public meetings from August-November of 2016. From this committee, an ordinance to establish a stormwater utility was drafted and presented to Urbana City Council. On January 17, 2017, Urbana City Council in a 5-2 vote approved Ordinance #4466-16 to establish a stormwater utility for the City of Urbana.
1Q: What is the new stormwater utility fee and how is the fee charged?
1A: The fee is $5.00 per month per water meter and will be included on your monthly utility bill beginning in April 2017, regardless of residential, commercial, or industrial classification.
2Q: Are extraterritorial (outside city limits) utility customers charged this fee?
2A: Yes, the ordinance as recommended by the committee and as approved by Urbana City Council did not exclude utility customers located outside the city limits.
3Q: Are any future increases in the stormwater utility fee proposed in the future?
3A: No automatic increases in the stormwater utility fee are proposed within the first 5 years. By ordinance, the Stormwater Review Committee is required to meet every 5 years (next meeting in 2021). Furthermore, the ordinance states that the rate cannot be increased by more than 10% during this review process.
4Q: Are there controls on how the funds can be spent?
4A: Yes, by passage of this ordinance, the stormwater infrastructure system is declared a public utility, funded by the stormwater utility fee. This fee covers operation, construction, maintenance, and repair of stormwater facilities as well as system planning and surface water quality management. Furthermore, no more than 30% of the generated revenue can go toward operating costs. The balance of the funds is reserved for capital improvement needs that benefit only the stormwater system.
5Q: What type of operational costs and capital improvement needs could be paid from these funds?
5A: Operational costs would include cleaning of catch basins, routine street sweeping, line cleaning, video inspections along with education. The majority (at least 70%) of the funds will be allocated toward future capital improvements to improve the stormwater system and for projects to address inadequate stormwater infrastructure. Equipment purchases to benefit the stormwater program could also be paid for from these funds.
- 2016 Illegal Dumping Article: /documents/contentdocuments/doc_23_5_3344.pdf
- 2016 Dugan Run Water Quality Report: /documents/contentdocuments/doc_23_5_3345.pdf
- 2017 1st Quarter Article: /documents/contentdocuments/doc_23_5_3346.pdf