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Flossmoor Board to Consider Storm Utility Fee

Flossmoor's Village Board voted to proceed with their consideration of a new storm water utility fee which would add an extra $12 to each resident's monthly water bill.

Flossmoor residents may soon be paying an average of $12 extra per month on their water bill thanks to a proposed storm water utility fee.

Flossmoor Public Works Director George Peluso spoke in front of the Village Board during their April 18 meeting in support of the fee. He said that an already stretched budget, aging storm water infrastructure and unfunded mandates from both the state and federal governments are largely responsible for the need of a separate fund dedicated to storm water management.

While Mayor Paul Braun expressed concern over the introduction of a new fee in a struggling economy, he ultimately gave his approval.

“I have to say that all of us (board members) take very, very seriously any time that we have to talk about any increases of any costs to our residents,” said Braun. “I hate to see any increase in cost at this point, but I think going forward … since we continue to avoid debt, which is a very good policy, this is something that the board should consider to (approve).”

According to Peluso, the Public Works Department used storm water utility fee implementation strategies in the communities of Tinley Park, Street Charles and Rolling Meadows as models to help determine the best course of action for the potential Flossmoor fee.

Peluso said they drew a conclusion based on the varied models.

“The least expensive and most efficient way to implement this (proposed) fee is through… a storm water utility fee based on a property owner’s water consumption,” said Peluso.

The recommended rate for the proposed fee is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons used. According to Peluso, the average monthly water consumption is 8,000, which means the new fee would cost the average resident $12 extra per month. He said the revenue from the fees would generate an estimated $450,000 per year.

According to Village Manager Bridget Wachtel, Peluso's proposal ensures the lowest possible fee rates.

“The board should have done this years ago,” said Trustee Jim Mitros. “… we are still suffering from the effects of the water fund where we don’t really cover our expenses.”

Peluso said the extra revenue would remedy the current system’s financial pitfalls.

“The fee corrects a structural imbalance in the Village’s finances between revenues and the cost to provide a major utility service,” Peluso wrote. “Further, in light of the , the proposed fee is expected to help alleviate a portion of the in the General Fund as a result of segregating these utility costs.”

The board unanimously agreed to proceed with their consideration of proposed fee. If approved, the fee will require an amendment to the 2012 fiscal year budget to establish a storm sewer fund. Implementation would eventually start based on the current water bill cycles.

Heather Hoefle April 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM
I will support this if it means that action will be taken in an effort to keep water out of our basements.
Bob carpenter April 19, 2011 at 01:24 PM
My name is Bob Carpenter, 837 Burns Ave., I would like to know why our street doesn't have curbs as Argyle, Bruce and Park do? I believe curbs with water sewers underneath would relieve a lot of our water problems. Why was our street skipped?
Julie April 19, 2011 at 04:00 PM
$12 a month is too much, if we have to raise rates, how about $5 or $6 a month. Our water rate is already too high!
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 06:00 PM
I'll try to find out for you, Bob. Thanks!
Lilly Melin April 19, 2011 at 07:31 PM
$12 a month I agree is too much, our water rates are very high as it is...
Don Mastery April 19, 2011 at 07:50 PM
If it was a school increase, $144/year would have to go to referendum for voter approval, but call it a utility tax and the board just has to approve it.
Lilly Melin April 19, 2011 at 09:47 PM
I agree, it is unfortunate that that is the case Don.
Vicki Bensley Burke April 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM
That's exactly what I thought!
Juvenal April 20, 2011 at 02:56 AM
How about we keep our twelve bucks and the villages employees pay something close to a market-level contribution toward their gold plated health plan premiums instead????????????????
Charlie April 20, 2011 at 03:04 AM
Right on, brother!
Bob carpenter April 20, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Thanks, Ryan, I appreciate your help! Bob Carpenter
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) April 20, 2011 at 10:29 AM
Bob, According to Flossmoor Village Manager Bridget Wachtel, the treatment of different areas in Flossmoor does not necessarily have an impact on the storm water drainage capabilities. She said different areas of the community have been prioritized in different ways for various reasons including, but not limited to, aesthetics. If you are interested in getting more detailed information on whether or not your area is indeed well-suited for storm water management and weather or not a curb and sewer installation would make a difference, she suggested that you contact the Public Works Department at 708-957-4100. George Peluso is the current director. Wachtel also invited you to speak with her directly so that she could address your concerns personally. You can reach her by calling the Village Hall at 708-798-2300. I hope this information helps, Ryan
Jessica April 20, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Why is a storm water tax based on water usage? Doesn't it typically rain the same amount across the village? So why not a flat tax per household? I hope they've researched how they will actually stop the flooding problems as thoroughly as they've researched how to charge us for it....and come up with better results. If a $144 a year keeps my friends and neighbors basements dry, I'll be happy for them. If nothing changes, that will be disappointing.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) April 20, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Jessica, Just to clarify, this is not a tax, but rather a fee. There was another consideration to assess the fees based on the amount of impervious surfaces on Flossmoor landowners' property, but the village and Public Works Department have argued that doing the latter would be much more time consuming and costly. And, as Village Manager Bridget Wachtel pointed out, those additional costs would likely have been passed on the the customers (you). We will look more deeply into how this extra money will be spent, and if it will result will keep more basements dry.
Jessica April 20, 2011 at 07:53 PM
They can call it a "fee" but by definition, it is a tax. Tax-noun 1. a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc. Fee –noun 1. a charge or payment for professional services: a doctor's fee. 2. a sum paid or charged for a privilege: an admission fee. 3. a charge allowed by law for the service of a public officer. And just because one way of determining fees was considered too "time consuming and costly" doesn't mean that basing a storm sewer tax on water usage makes any more sense - it's simply easier, whereas a flat tax would have been easiest of all.
Frank April 20, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Some commenters seem to think this fee/tax on every household will be used to alleviate water problems in homeowners yards and basements. The article says the fee/tax "is expected to help alleviate a portion of the projected budgetary deficits in the General Fund as a result of segregating these utility costs". This money will solve a budget problem, not water/seepage problems.
Doug April 24, 2011 at 10:58 PM
I thought my Sanitary Sewer "fee" was based on my water consumption. Which drain is the water going down? Apparently the same one as my money! And to think that there was consideration of calculating a "c" factor (coefficient of runoff) for each and every property in the village to determine how much sheet flow was being generated and then charge a fee based on that! Who comes up with these ideas?

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