The city of Peoria needs to fund repairs to some 400 stormwater problem areas, costing about $17 million. That is in addition to paying for a fix for the city’s combined sewers that empty stormwater and sewage into the Illinois River during heavy rainfall. Along with a possible sewer rate increase, the stormwater fee could help the city bring in additional revenue for upcoming projects.
The city will implement a stormwater utility fee on all property owners beginning in June. The fee is $3 per 1,000 square feet of impermeable surface. The average homeowner has 2,600 square feet of hard surface and would pay $7.80 cents each month. But Public Works Director Scott Reeise says there will be incentives to reduce the fee.
More importantly, the city wants to keep rain where it falls.
"But we also wanted to encourage behavioral change, so that’s where the credits and grants come in for responsible actions to actually help us alleviate some of our wet weather issues." Reese says.
Reeise will present his suggested credit incentives at the March 27th city council meeting. Rain barrels will not earn a credit. Instead, the city plans to give rain barrels to homeowners. It would not reduce their fee.
City Manager Patrick Urich told the city council last night he expects that fee will help cover the costs for managing runoff and sewer projects.
"It would likely be that we would focus on stormwater utility and sewer rates before we would look at any other revenue stream at this point in time. I would focus on those two to see if we can live within those two because they’re directly tied back to managing stormwater and managing the sewer systems that we have.” Urich said.
The U.S. EPA has yet to approve the city’s proposed solution to the combined sewer problem. The cost is estimated to be more than $200 million.