News Item

Storm Water Fee Notice 2019


posted on Thursday, April 04, 2019.

Reminder: City Water Bills Now Contain Storm Water Fee

Common Council approved moving the fee from property tax bill to water bill in the 2019 budget.

City of Racine – The City Water Utility and the office of the Mayor want to remind residents that the storm water fee, which used to be found on the property tax bill, is now located on the water bills. Some City residents will receive their first bill containing the storm water fee later this week.

2017 Property Tax Bill Small

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2019 Water Bill Small

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Here is a list of questions and answers about the storm water fee:

What does the storm water fee pay for?

Storm water maintaince is designed to prevent runoff pollution from entering bodies of water. Storm Water Utilities were authorized by the State several years ago and the associated fees go towards infastructure maintenance. Maintenance of storm water infrastructure includes: repairing storm water sewers, fixing storm water inlets (catch basins), maintaining storm water ponds (dry and wet), street sweeping, leaf collection, keeping sediment out of rivers, streams and lakes. Maintenance of storm water manholes and cleaning sediment from storm water manholes is an activity that is also funded by this fee. Maintaining storm water in Wisconsin is important and Cities have defined criteria to achieve compliance with rigid and stringent state water quality standards. Maintenance of ditches and/or concrete curb lines are funded by the storm water fee as they both transport storm water to storm sewers and rivers and the lake.

How is the storm water fee calculated?

Calculations are performed using aerial photography and land surveys. The more impervious land that a parcel has, the more storm water that will be generated from that parcel. Property with open grass fields will pay less than a property that is paved with concrete. Properties with storm water ponds will get credits on their fee for cleaning and retaining storm water on their property for longer periods of time.

Is the Stormwater fee new? I don’t remember paying for this before.

The storm water fee is not new. Residents used to pay the storm water fee on their property tax bill (along with other fees, such as the Recycling fee) but the fee was migrated from the property tax bill to the water bill in the last City budget. If you are a city resident who pays a property tax bill, or a business or even a tax-exmpt non-profit that that owns property, you typically have received a property tax bill that contains at least the city fees, which would have included the storm water fee. Again, the storm water fee no longer appears on the property tax bill, it appears on the Water Utility bill.

Why is the stormwater fee on my water bill?

The Common Council approved moving the storm water fee from the property tax bill to the water bill in this year’s City budget. Most Cities include the storm water fee on their water bills. The fee goes towards improving and maintaining the City’s storm water infastructure.

How often will I pay this fee?

Formerly this was collected once annually on the property’s tax bill. In 2019, the fee will be divided up into equal installments, and it will be collected 3 times on your quarterly water bill or 9 times on your monthly water bill. In 2020 it will be collected 4 times on your quarterly water bill or 12 times on your monthly water bill.

Has the amount of the fee changed?

Yes. As adopted in the 2019 budget, for a typical residential, single family home in the City, the storm water rate is $123.77 annually. This is a quarterly increase of $5.38 from the previous year.

What do I do if I think I should not have to pay the fee?

Every land parcel in the City limits is assigned and calculated a fee. Whether it is a vacant lot, or a commercial building with a large parking lot. There exists a formal process to challenge your fee. For example, if you think that installing a rain garden or pond on your property has changed your situation, you should call the Department of Public Works at 262-636-9192.

What if I am a renter and have never paid a storm water fee before?

Talk to your landlord and review your lease.

I am a renter. Why am I being billed for Storm water? Do I have to pay it?

If you are a renter you should talk to your landlord. In previous years the storm water fee was part of the property tax bill paid for by the property owner. Discuss your responsibilities with your landlord.

I am a landlord. If my tenant is responsible to pay for the water bill shouldn’t they also have to pay for the storm water fee?

Storm water has always been collected on the property tax bill until this year. Consult your lease and have a discussion with your tenant and work out a plan of who should pay. Remember, that if you fail to pay the fee it will end up on the property tax bill just like other unpaid water and sewer charges.

I live in a flat and have never paid for storm water before and now it appears on my water bill. Why?

The Council’s action requires that everyone who gets a water bill should also get a storm water bill. Talk to the owner of the property about your lease and your responsibilities.