Nov 08, 2019

Royal Oak, Mich., Enacts Storm Water Utility Ordinance

Royal Oak, Mich., is gearing up to change how residents are billed for storm water treatment.

Royal Oak, Mich., is gearing up to change how residents are billed for storm water treatment.

Royal Oak, Mich., officials are enacting a new storm water utility ordinance, which will change how residents are billed for storm water treatment on their water bills starting in 2020.

Water customers’ storm water fees will be based on the amount of impermeable surfaces on a property, such as roofing, concrete or asphalt driveways and parking lots, according to Royal Oak Tribune.

The current system bills water customers for runoff based on how much water they use.

“This project has been in the works for quite awhile,” said James Krizan, assistant to the city manager. “The concept behind this is that the more hard surfaces a property has, the more storm water runoff it creates.”

An estimated 48% of residential bills will decrease, 10% will remain unchanged, and 30% will increase from 5% to 30%, reported Royal Oak Tribune. Commercial properties with low water use are expected to see the biggest increases. 12% of water customers will see their bills jump 30% or more.

“The specific amount of the storm water fee would be established by the city commission on an annual basis,” said David Gillam, interim city manager and city attorney in a memo. “This fee would be for the use of the city’s storm water system, based on the runoff potential for a given property. The greater the runoff, the greater the fee.”

The billing charges will more accurately reflect how much storm water a property generates that goes into the combined water-sewer system for treatment, according to city officials. 

The city has yet to determine final rates, however. Royal Oak officials want to enact the new billing system in April.

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