Funding a Stormwater Utility

The Grand Rapids Press ran an article recently about the City’s desire to fund its stormwater program: to create a serious new revenue stream to fund stormwater improvements. At the state level, the proposed HB 5673 promotes grants to communities who want to set up a stormwater utility, which is similar to water and sewer utility systems. GR’s report suggests two ways to fund a Stormwater Utility:

  1. 1. Via property taxes
  2. 2. Via impact fees based on total impervious surface area

The first option excludes large owners of impervious surfaces like churches and schools, because they don’t pay property tax. If total impervious area is the trigger for fees, then reducing impervious surface or reducing/eliminating runoff from a property can slash an owner’s stormwater utility charges. For example, one church’s annual bill would be $14,000 based on the second assessment method, and Meijer’s three Grand Rapids stores would owe $70,000 per year.

This is a huge emerging issue, and we at P&N are following it very closely. Stay tuned.

Here is the MLive article.

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