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updated: 3/7/2014 2:28 PM

Buffalo Grove may add stormwater fee

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Buffalo Grove is contemplating a stormwater utility fee.

Public Works Director Mike Reynolds at the recent village board committee of the whole meeting, explained that, "Buffalo Grove and many communities in the Chicago area and statewide are experiencing increasing issues with flooding (and) drainage."

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The goal of the fee, he said, is to generate enough revenue to satisfy operational needs and long-term capital needs with the storm sewer system. He compared it to what the village already does with its water system.

The benefits include a dedicated revenue source for stormwater programs, as well as a full accounting of them similar to the water and sewer fund. It would also provide an equitable method of assessing fees to homeowners.

He said there is a need for it from the standpoint of budgeting and capital replacement.

Reynolds said that historically stormwater projects have been done on an as-needed basis when funding is available.

The storm system is comprised of 39 detention/retention basins on 81 acres of property, 189 miles of storm sewers and 3,300 storm structures, such as inlets and catch basins.

The fees have yet to be determined. One figure floated was a $45 annual fee.

Buffalo Grove is looking into what other towns charge. Hoffman Estates' fee is based on the square footage of a property. Downers Grove assesses based on impervious surface.

The village could offer credits to homeowners to use rain gardens, permeable brick, bioswales and other mitigation tools.

Reynolds said the village may issue a request for proposal for a consultant as it determines future steps.

Village Manager Dane Bragg said a fee is needed because the village has drainage issues in various places for which there is no dedicated funding source. He said the village issued debt to pay for recent upgrades on the Cook County side of town, but there is still work to be done.

Finance Director Scott Anderson said over the last couple of years, the village has spent $250,000 to $300,000 annually on capital improvement costs for storm infrastructure.

"The question is whether or not we can take that, say it's $300,000, and move it out of the general fund and move it into here to offset some of the increase that we have to pay for in this new fee," said Village President Jeffrey Braiman.

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