What is the Storm Water Management System User Charge?
The mandated requirements of the State of Wisconsin Administrative Code (NR 216 and NR 151) have substantially increased the City’s cost of storm water management.
- The DNR now requires that the City reduce certain pollutants in runoff by 20% by the year 2008, and by 40% by the year 2013.
- The City has had to increase street sweeping because of the DNR rules.
- Routine removal of sediment from every catch basin owned by the City is now required by DNR.
- The City is also required to implement visual and chemical monitoring of the storm water management system throughout the City.
The City Council adopted a storm water management system user charge to enable the City to fund some of its storm water needs. The billing will be issued for the current year with subsequent bills to be issued each December for the ensuing year. The bill for this annual storm water management system user charge will be included on your property tax bill.
How are the storm water management system user charges determined?
Each parcel contributes a certain amount of run off to the City storm water management system. The more impervious area a parcel has, the more run off is generated from that parcel.
Charges for storm water will be based on an “Equivalent Runoff Unit” (ERU) which represents the average cost for dealing with the impact of a single family home on storm water quantity (volume) and quality (pollution). For Oak Creek, an ERU is defined as 3,300 square feet - the average impervious area of a single-family home. Impervious areas are areas that do not allow storm water to soak into the ground. They include areas paved with concrete, asphalt, compacted gravel, or areas covered by buildings.
Single family residential customers are charged one ERU. Condominiums, including side-by-sides, will be charged 0.5 ERU per dwelling unit. Non-residential rates are charged for the number of ERU’s for each parcel; this is calculated by dividing the customer's total impervious area by 3,300 square feet. Undeveloped properties will pay no storm water user fees until they are developed.
What if I am not directly connected to an underground pipe?
Ditches and drainage channels (both natural and manmade) are part of the storm water management system. Even if your property is not connected directly to a City storm pipe or ditch, the water enters the City storm water management system at some point after it leaves your property. The City streets, catch basins, and other parts of the storm water management system are used by the site owner, their family, friends, associates, and delivery vehicles. These improvements in water quality are construed as a benefit to the State and City, and thereby to landowners and residents of the City of Oak Creek. A clean environment is more attractive to potential buyers than a degraded one. Measures taken by the City to improve water quality also help to maintain property value throughout the City. Additionally, protecting fish and bird habitat and maintaining clean waterways is generally recognized to provide quality of life benefits for landowners and residents within the City.