Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Drainage fee added to utility bills this month

The city has added a drainage system utility fee to both residents’ and commercial customers’ monthly utility bill. Bills went out Jan. 22  reflecting the fee.

The city re-instituted the fee for the drainage utility, formerly called the stormwater utility, in December. The drainage utility is responsible for operating and maintaining the city’s stormwater system, which provides drainage services to properties in the city.

Residents who live primarily in the southern section of the city and are served by pipes will pay $3.76 a month. Those who live in the northern section of the city and are served primarily by grassy swales will pay $4.13 a month. The fee will be included on monthly bills along with sewer, water, street lights and garbage fees.

Like other vital utility services, users are charged a fee for the service of controlling stormwater. The drainage system utility fee applies to all properties, including homes, businesses, schools, government, and non-profit organizations that use the system.  These fees provide a dedicated revenue stream, which is used only on stormwater system maintenance, operations, systems planning, and construction.

Cities often use utility service fees to fund their drainage program,” said John Ghilarducci  of the FCS consulting group, which conducted a rate study of drainage fees for the city. “By reinstating the fees, Coeur d’Alene will be able to provide stable revenue to meet the total costs of providing drainage service to property owners.”

A primary function of a drainage program is that the utility, for a fee, takes on the individual property owners’ responsibility for stormwater and regulatory compliance. Stormwater must meet federal, state, and local regulations, most prominent among them being National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements.

Forms and information can be found online at www.cdaid.org or a customer service representative can mail or fax the form to a property owner.  Customers who do not agree with the drainage system utility fee calculation  may contact Utility Billing at 769-2223 or 769-2300.  City representatives can answer your stormwater questions.  If, after contacting the city, you still feel your drainage fee is incorrect, you may request that the fee be recalculated and ultimately, you may appeal the fee to the City Council.  

For more information about the drainage system and fees, click here for FAQs.