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Tax reform advocate group protests DuPage County stormwater bill

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 11:15 a.m. CST

The president of Taxpayers United of America called upon DuPage County taxpayers Tuesday to protest the possibility of a stormwater utility fee in DuPage County.

TUA President Jim Tobin called the possible fee a "rain tax."

Tobin's remarks come about two weeks after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1522, allowing DuPage County to charge property owners a utility fee that would be based on the amount of stormwater displaced by property.

The bill requires a two-year planning and education process before the county can put the fee in place. The fee would require a county board vote.

“This bizarre bill allows ‘stormwater utility fees’ on all properties in DuPage County, including homes, businesses, schools, churches and forest preserves," Tobin said in a statement. "This could be the largest tax increase in DuPage County history.”

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin has said the county stormwater fee would be more equitable than the current method of using property taxes to fund stormwater infrastructure, because a fee would be based on the amount of stormwater displaced by a property. The infrastructure improvements would aim to alleviate flooding issues during large rainfalls.

"If you're a big developer and you put down a large, 50,000-square-feet parking lot of concrete, and you displace a lot of water to your neighbor downstream, you'll pay more," Cronin said when the House passed the bill. "If you take steps to install semi-permeable pavers and rain barrels at home, your fee will be a lot less, you'll get credit for it. It's the ultimate in responsible behavior policy."

The county fee would be similar to the fee created by Downers Grove this year for village property owners. While the village of Downers Grove cut property taxes nearly $2 million this year to account for the separate fee, the county has not said whether it would cut property taxes in a similar fashion.

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