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Stormwater Utility

In March 2014, the Winnetka Village Council adopted an ordinance which created a stormwater utility that became effective July 1, 2014. Provisions of the ordinance also established both credits and appeals. Information here will guide property owners on appealing their utility fee or applying for a credit.

Appeals

Below is the form that must be completed, along with any required documentation, and submitted for a property owner to appeal the stormwater utility fee. Please note that an appeal can only be made for a specified number of reasons, including: 1) billing errors; 2) miscalculation of bill; 3) incorrect impervious area calculation; or 4) incorrect classification of property. Also, an owner must have been billed for their stormwater utility fee to begin the appeal process.

Appeals missing the required information or that do not meet the appeal criteria will be returned to the applicant without review. Completed and signed forms should be returned to the address indicated on the form. Electronic documentation will be accepted. Please allow 30 days from submittal for appeal review.

Utility Appeal Form

Credits

Below are the forms that must be completed, along with any required documentation, and submitted for a property owner to apply for a credit. Available credits include: 1) a credit of up to 50% for detaining and cleaning no less than half of the property’s stormwater runoff (under a 100-year design storm) and 2) a credit of 100% if none of a property’s stormwater runoff discharges into the Village’s stormwater system.

Applicants must complete both the General Credit Application (Form 1) and either Form 2 or Form 3, depending on the type of credit being sought. Incomplete applications will be returned to the owner without review. Completed and signed forms should be returned to the address specified in Form 1. Electronic documentation will be accepted. Please allow 60 days from submittal for initial review.
A copy of the Village of Winnetka’s Stormwater Credit Manual is also available below.

General Credit Application (Form 1)
Credit Application: Detention (Form 2)
Credit Application: Discharge (Form 3)
Winnetka Stormwater Credit Manual

Questions

Questions about either the appeal or credit processes should be directed to the Village’s Stormwater Utility Customer Support team at 847-716-3549 or Stormwatercomments@winnetka.org.

Utility Update- December 2015

Since 2011, the Village of Winnetka has been developing a Stormwater Management Program, outlining millions in capital improvements designed to deliver long-term flood relief from structural flooding in large scale storm events.  After extensive study in 2013 and 2014, the Village approved a stormwater utility fee—finding it to be an equitable method to pay for planned stormwater improvements, because it is based on each’s property’s impervious surface and its impact upon the stormwater system.  Since every property contributes stormwater, every property owner helps to pay for the flooding solutions. Stormwater utilities have become more common throughout the State, as they provide a predictable and sustainable funding source to maintain and improve a stormwater system. 

The Village began billing property owners for stormwater utility service effective July 1, 2014, based on the amount of impervious surface on the property. Impervious surface is calculated as an Equivalent Runoff Unit, or ERU; one ERU equals 3,400 square feet of impervious surface.  The fee appears on each customer’s regular utility bill, along with Village fees for water, electric, sanitary sewer, etc. Winnetka’s stormwater utility is a set fee: $21.83 per ERU, per month, with most residential customers billed bi-monthly.

The following chart displays the types of impervious areas considered in Village calculations.pw-typ-of-imperv-surface-img-20190501

It is important to keep in mind that the current rate of the utility fee is structured based on two components: 1) annual, ongoing storm sewer system operation and maintenance (O&M) costs and 2) required principal and interest payments on general obligation debt issued by the Village to fund stormwater projects. In late 2013 and early 2014, the Village issued $16.5 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid over a 30-year period—allowing assets to be paid for over the life in which they are used. The current rate of the utility reflects the costs and investments made to the Stormwater Management Program to-date.

The Village has been using the bonds to pay for current flood relief projects and will continue to pay the principal and interest on the previously issued debt.  Until there is consensus on alternative stormwater improvements that can provide flood mitigation, it is not anticipated the Village would issue any further debt—meaning the utility rate is likely to stay the same until additional improvements are approved.

Stormwater Utility Feasibility Study

Questions about the stormwater utility fee and current rate can be directed to the Village’s Stormwater Utility Customer Support (847-716-3549).

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