Adopted Ordinance No. 936 establishes a new Article 5, of Chapter 15 of the Westwood Municipal Code for a storm water utility, including the creation, administration, operating budget, revenue, appeal process, and fee collection process.
Stormwater is water from the rain. As rains falls it is either absorbed into the ground or runs downhill and is collected and managed in the city's stormwater infrastructure.
Impervious surfaces, such as rooftops and pavement, prevent water from absorbing into the ground and causes runoff. Unmanaged stormwater runoff threatens public health and safety as it can carry contaminants such as garbage, heavy metals and other pollutants.
The City of Westwood has stormwater infrastructure to manage runoff, but the pipes and structures are aging and will be in need repair or replacement in the near future. The City of Westwood also operates an annual leaf pick-up program in the fall, which also helps in the management of the city’s stormwater system.
The city's stormwater infrastructure is expensive to repair and replace. In previous years, maintenance of the city’s storm drains and storm sewer system as well as operation of the fall leaf pick-up program was paid out of the city’s General Fund, which is primarily revenue from property and sales taxes. Since the city's budgeted General Fund pays for a wide variety of city services, the storm water system often does not receive the necessary funds to make needed improvements and maintenance.
Many area cities have created stormwater utilities to maintain and repair existing storm drainage system components (storm sewer pipes, street inlets, curb drainage, etc.) and to fund costs associated with compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act. Stormwater utilities have been used in Kansas cities since 1990.
The stormwater system in Westwood has both immediate and long term needs for repairs and maintenance. To finance this investment the city implemented a stormwater service management fee in 2013 which initially will generate about $95,000 in revenue annually. The revenue from the fee will only be used to fund stormwater improvements such as replacing stormwater pipes, street inlets, curbs and gutters, and the operation of the city's annual leaf pick-up program.
A stormwater utility and the assessment of a fee is an attempt to spread the costs of maintaining the city’s infrastructure across all entities and properties that both contribute to the drainage issues and benefit from storm drainage improvements and system maintenance. Because the stormwater drainage system’s challenges are directly attributable to the amount of impervious surface, the stormwater management service fee is based on the amount of stormwater run-off that comes from each property in the city.
A stormwater service management service fee is not a tax; as such the new fee will be assessed across all properties – even those that are tax exempt such as the properties owned by The University of Kansas Hospital Authority and the Shawnee Mission School District, as well as church-owned properties and city-owned properties.
The fee is calculated based on the square footage of a property’s impervious surface area. Impervious surface area includes buildings, patios, pools and driveways and other hard surface areas. Yard areas with grass and plants and other pervious areas where rain water can soak into the ground is not included in the fee calculation.
Measuring the impervious surface of individual properties is the most equitable way to determine stormwater runoff volume.
Westwood's stormwater service management fee will appear on each property tax bill, just like an assessment fee currently appears on the property tax bill for residential trash service.
The adopted storm water management service fee is based on an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) and an Equivalent Non-Residential Unit (ENRU) structure.
The ERU and ENRU means a unit of measure that is equal to each 500-square feet of impervious surface area of a property, including buildings, accessory structures, athletic courts, swimming pools and any paved or hard surface driveways and parking lots.
Measuring the impervious surface of individual properties is the most equitable way to determine stormwater runoff volume. All properties are mapped, evaluated, and measured to establish impervious surface area. The amount of impervious surface area calculated is converted to an ERU and ENRU value.
A fee of $1.00 per month for each ERU and ENRU was set for the FY 2014 Storm Water Utility Fund expenditures.
As an example - any residential property in Westwood with 5 ERU’s, or a property with between 2,000 and 2,500 sq. ft. of calculated impervious surface area will be assessed a $60.00 annual storm water service management fee. All of the non-residential properties are calculated on the amount total amount of impervious surface area.
Each property will pay an annual fee based on the total amount of calculated impervious surface area. The larger residential structures and those properties with extensive driveways and patios will be charged a higher rate than properties with houses that have a smaller footprint and/or minimally sized driveways.
The stormwater management service fee rate is set at $1.00 per month for every 500-feet of impervious surface area as established by Resolution No. 36-2013.
As an example - a residential property in Westwood with between 2,000 and 2,500 sq. ft. of calculated impervious surface area will be assessed a $60.00 annual stormwater service management fee. The non-residential properties are calculated on the amount total amount of impervious surface area.
A complete listing of the calculated impervious surface area and the annual fee that will be collected as a special assessment on the property tax bills for all properties in the city
A graphic map of Westwood showing the building footprints and mapped impervious surface areas of each property can be found
Any property owner who disagrees with the impervious surface area calculations, or whether their property is served by the stormwater utility may appeal the calculation or finding to the Westwood City Council by submitting a written notice of appeal to the City Clerk.
The appeal needs to include information or data on the basis of the appeal. This can be derived from a land survey that provides data on the total property area, the type of surface material and impervious area as appropriate, or other sources of data.
Every property in the city has been mapped by computer to determine the impervious surface area. The calculations and surface area numbers being used to determine the fee are based on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of each property in the city utilizing planimetric data provided by the Johnson County’s Automated Information Mapping System (AIMS) department. This planimetric GIS data has been verified and updated by referencing aerial photography, and by utilizing information from the city's building permit files and georeferenced survey documents and plot plans.
It is the desire of the city for this to be a fair and equitable utility charge. The larger residential structures and those properties with extensive driveways and patios will be charged a higher rate than properties with houses and buildings that have a smaller footprint and/or minimally sized driveways. All commercial properties will be charged based on the footprint size of the buildings, parking lots, driveways and other hard surface areas.
If you believe that the calculated numbers are not correct for your property, please file a written appeal notice with the Westwood City Clerk. City staff will then utilize all data sources and recalculate the impervious surface area numbers for your property.