Menasha, Wis. Proposes Storm Water Utility
Creation of a city storm water utility fee to more equitably distribute growing costs for handling of runoff is being considered to help the city of Menasha, Wis.’s, projected 2007 budget shortfall.
The proposed storm water utility, similar to others in several Fox Valley communities, will be discussed at a meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Menasha Public Library, 440 First St.
Currently all property owners except tax-exempt entities share the burden of covering the increasing costs of new facilities, including detention ponds, being mandated by the state.
If approved, homeowners likely would see a reduction in their share of the cost while large properties like warehouses, apartments, schools or churches would be required to pay the fee for the first time if they are tax-exempt or cover a greater portion of the cost.
"You're moving it to a fee-based system (from the tax levy) which is more equitable," said Mayor Joe Laux. "If you have a lot of impervious surface (like parking lots and large roof tops), you'll be paying more than someone without."
Municipalities will be required to do more, including monitoring storm water and increased street sweeping, according to Laux.
"There's a whole series of mandating coming down the pike by 2010," he said. "The bottom line is we're being told we're going to have to do a lot more with storm water."
"Both the city of Neenah and Appleton did this some years ago," Laux said. "What's happening is the nonprofit entities and structures right now don't pay anything and they do contribute to storm water issues."
Laux estimated the city spends about $250,000 annually on storm water issues, a number likely to grow in the future.
"We don't have a choice," Laux said. "We're being told you will increase your storm water spending. You've got to go this direction."