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A stormwater utility is an enterprise fund created to finance wet weather management. Similar utilities exist for water, sewer, electricity, and other services. Funds raised by a stormwater utility can only apply to wet weather needs and may not be used for any unrelated purposes.
Impervious surface areas like rooftops, sidewalks, walkways, patio areas, driveways, parking lots, sheds, and more that don't allow stormwater to do what it normally does - soak into the ground.
The stormwater utility fee is based on the amount of impervious surface area on a property. Each billing unit will be set per 1,000 square feet of impervious area.
Homeowners will be able to apply for credits if they are able to successfully manage runoff on their property. More details about credits will come soon.
Peoria's Stormwater Utility Code established the initial rate of $3 per billing unit for the years 2018 and 2019. Section 31-164 of the SWU Code also established the rate for years beyond 2019. The rate increases to $4 on January 1, 2020, and $5 on January 1, 2021. Beginning on January 1, 2022, the SWU billing rate will increase annually equal to the cost of inflation established by the U.S. Department of Labor Midwest Urban Area Consumer Price Index.
Stormwater runoff directly correlates to the amount of impervious surfaces on a property. Runoff can be very damaging. Impervious surfaces allow the water to fill up our pipes and streams faster, increasing the potential for street and/or storm system flooding during heavy rains. This results in increased maintenance and repair requirements of the storm sewer system. By basing the fee on the impervious surface area, residents would pay for the water they contribute to the system.
City staff believes a stormwater utility fee is a right option for Peoria for a number of reasons:
Not only will we have the funding needed to repair crucial infrastructure, we will be able to beautify and strengthen our community. A stormwater utility will help us maintain green infrastructures like rain gardens, permeable pavers, bioswales, and more. These elements have co-benefits, including:
Rainfall and snowmelt pick up whatever chemical compounds and/or trash lie on pavement and flow directly into our creeks, streams and river. A stormwater utility could help us restore the natural hydrologic function we disrupted with pavement and other impervious surfaces, and would slow, cleanse and recharge groundwater once again. This reversal would not only benefit people, but also the animals and fish that rely on those water sources.
A stormwater utility could help Peoria afford more street sweeping, preventing flooding from pollution-clogged inlets. Also, green infrastructure could help absorb and retain water, lessening the occurrence of flooding.
We could increase surrounding property values by improving public rights-of-way and repurposing vacant/blighted lots. We could also spur reinvestment and increase economic activity, including tourism, for nearby businesses by creating green spaces and roads that encourage multiple types of transportation.
A portion of the stormwater utility could be used for green infrastructure maintenance, which would provide a scale and scope of design and construction work that could be met by local companies. Green infrastructure could create a demand for workforce training and education to build capacity for these public and private jobs.
Using green infrastructure (bump-outs, bioswales, green streets, rain gardens) to address CSOs and stormwater runoff will beautify areas of town, especially parts of older neighborhoods. Studies have shown that green spaces are linked to improvements in mental health, stress reduction and can foster community.
We could create landscape designs that maintain sight lines, define public and private spaces, control access and encourage residents to spend time outside interacting and building stronger community ties.
Many elements make up our stormwater infrastructure, including ditches, creeks, pipes and culverts, ponds and lakes, curbs and gutters, inlets and manholes, wetlands, rain gardens, and bioswales. Almost all properties use the stormwater system.