Shorewood proposes initial fees for stormwater utility

Larger properties' fees yet to be determined

May 18, 2012

Shorewood - Village officials are fleshing out the particulars of Shorewood's proposed stormwater utility fee, which would help defray the costs of its $32 million sanitary and stormwater system overhaul.

Village Manager Chris Swartz presented the findings of a stormwater utility study to the Village Board last week, outlining preliminary methods of assessing the fee and projections of the cost to residents.

According to the study, the fee would be based on Equivalent Residential Units, a measure of the impervious and pervious surface area on Shorewood properties, both of which contribute to runoff to varying degrees. Village officials concluded that single family units and duplexes - which combined account for 75 percent of the village's ERUs - constitute a baseline of one ERU.

The annual projected stormwater utility cost of a one ERU property beginning in 2015 would be $44, scaling up toward a peak cost of $264 in 2025, and falling back down to $174 in 2040. The village is conducting more detailed analyses to determine how it would assess commercial and public properties with larger areas of impervious surfaces.

The stormwater utility makes sense, said Village Trustee Jeff Hanewall, because it's tied to runoff and therefore the impact individual properties will make on the stormwater system.

"It's trying to fairly distribute the expenses based on something that's actually related to your property," Hanewall told NOW.

The Village Board is, however, concerned about the effect a stormwater utility fee could have on large property owners like the Shorewood School District.

"If there's this new, substantial cost to them because of their size," Hanewall said, "that would have a large impact on their budget."

The Village Board is considering steps to help mitigate the costs to larger entities like the School District, though Hanewall said there may be legal hurdles involved.

"There are rules that go along with these things," Hanewall said. "All those details become part of the next step."

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