Storm Water Utility

The Village has been divided into five (5) “customer classes”.  Each class, on an ERU (Equivalent Run-Off Unit) basis, is based on land use.  Sixty five percent (65%) of the parcels in the Village have residential land use assigned to them.  The remaining thirty-five percent (35%)  of the parcels were calculated for actual impervious area.  Impervious area is the calculated area of surface, of a parcel, that does not absorb water (roofs, driveways, parking lots, etc).  Following is a summary of the purpose of the utility that was included in the various workshops and meetings held by the Village Board.  At the bottom of this page, you will find the Final Draft of the Storm Water Utility Plan as well as Chapter 17, an ordinance creating the storm water utility.

Summary of the Storm Water Utility

The goal of the storm water utility is to provide a storm water drainage system with adequate capacity to accommodate major storms while maintaining the quality of storm water discharged into receiving streams. The storm water utility provides for the collection and conveyance of storm water within the Village through the use of public streets, catch basins, storm sewers, detention/retention basins and greenways. 

This program provides for street sweeping cycles.  These cycles removes the accumulated debris from the winter and leaf collection in the fall.  In addition, it will allow for the installation of catch basins, storm sewers, culverts, offset of required state permit expenses, as well as other storm water projects within the Village. This program also includes maintenance and erosion control activities and detention/retention basins.

The Village is required to control the quality and quantity of storm water runoff in accordance with Federal and State requirements.  Compliance with the Village's erosion control ordinance will require review and monitoring of storm water runoff of new developments during construction.  In addition, development plans will be reviewed for post construction compliance with the Village's Storm water Management Ordinance.

Until now, the costs of expansion, operation, and maintenance of the Village's storm water management system were paid for by property taxes through the General Fund.  Increasing pressures on the general fund caused by rising municipal costs and reduced revenues from the State of Wisconsin may make the general fund a less reliable source for storm water management funding. The Salem Lakes Village Board created a storm water utility fee as a means of addressing storm water management funding needs without placing an additional burden on property taxes.  Unlike property tax funding, user charges under a storm water utility are established in proportion to the relative amount of storm water runoff "generated" by an individual property. 

Benefits of a storm water utility include the following:

1)  A storm water utility more equitably allocates storm water system costs to property owners than does the present property tax-based system.

2)  A storm water utility increases the number of properties contributing to funding of the storm water management system.

The storm water utility service area is the area within the Village limits. Primary goals include:

1)  Provide a more equitable means of funding the Village's storm water management program.

2)  Eliminate property tax-based revenues for the operation and maintenance of the Village's stormwater management program.

3)  Provide a mechanism to fund the Village's storm water needs, including new EPA requirements and remedial sotrm sewer improvements.

The basis of the fees is as follows:

1)  Storm water service charges are based on Equivalent Runoff Units (ERU).  Most single-family residential parcels are assigned one ERU.  Parcels calculated on impervious area are charged between one (1) and five (5) ERU's.  The Village Board established a cap of five (5) ERU's.

2)  The annual storm water user fee per ERU is established based on the total annual storm water utility costs divided by the total number of ERU's assigned to properties in the utility service area.

3)  The storm water fee includes two main components:

     a)  Operation and maintenance component

     b)  Capital and debt service component (major projects)

4)  The fee per ERU would be approximately $15 per quarter per ERU.  This means the annual storm water management fee for a typical residential user (1 ERU) would be $60/year.