of the county and could bring in $4.7 million for drainage improvements.
Taxpayers would see the rate included in their yearly property tax bill.
At the first
meeting, Executive Director for the County Plan Commission Bob Thompson and
Bob Clifford, principal accountant for H.J. Umbaugh and Associates, worked
together on coming up with what could be classified as one ERU.
One ERU would be a
single or double family unit, including mobile homes. A three-family unit
would be one-and-a-half unit, while commercial and industrial properties,
including churches and schools, will be assessed as one ERU per every 25
Clifford said for
apartment buildings, one unit would equal half of an ERU, but Commissioner
Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, suggested that it should only equal a third to
make it more equitable with commercial properties.
which typically see more stormwater runoff, would be “complicated to assess”
an ERU quantity, Clifford said.
A more equitable
way of figuring the fee might be to develop a system that takes into account
the amount of impervious surfaces on a property, such as pavement, roofs or
where ever surface water can’t be absorbed, Clifford said. That could take
two years to devise however, he said, as the County’s GIS system isn’t
equipped yet to identify impervious surfaces.
Thompson said the
County decided not to include impervious surfaces in the last aerial survey
done. Another flyover would shorten the two-year window but would come at a
In total, there are
36,500 parcels to be included in the stormwater district and roughly 39,100
ERUs, Clifford said. That also takes into account the eight conservancy
districts which have been given the chance to opt in to the County’s plan
since many already are assessing a fee for flood and drainage control for
President John Evans, R-North, said at a previous Commissioners meeting that
conservancy districts could decide to assign the fees they currently collect
to the County’s Stormwater District.
Clifford said there
would be 7,698 ERUs total within all the conservancy districts and 7,355 are
credits can be given to wetland preserves for their work which Breitzke
the Izaak Walton League and the Shirley Heinze Land Trust gave statements
during the public hearing for the ordinance to establish the Stormwater
Management board asking the County to consider not charging fees to them as
they use their own funds to control drainage.
The board agreed to
take the proposal to the County Council for a vote, which is required to
start the fee structure. The Council could make changes if they wish,
attorney Betty Knight said.
Once the Council
approves, the stormwater board would hold a public hearing on the fee
structure, she said.
The fee of $10 per
ERU “seems to be the going rate in municipalities,” Evans said. Clifford
said after the meeting the fee is a “pretty average rate.”
Evans said he is
eager to see the County use the fee collections to begin bonding for
drainage improvement projects one-by-one rather than all at once. That would
get the projects done faster and the bond could be repaid from the
stormwater fees collected, he said.
If all ERUs pay the
rates, the County could bond up to $20 million which could be used to
relieve some major flooding issues, such as in South Haven, Clifford said.
At the start of the
meeting, the board elected officers; Evans as president, Breitzke as
Vice-President, and Blaney as secretary.