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Westmont Board moves forward on possible stormwater utility fee

WESTMONT – Westmont is one step closer to executing a stormwater utility fee.

The Westmont Village Board of Trustees approved a motion accepting recommendations from the Community Stormwater Management Committee during Thursday's board meeting, including an item allowing the village to conduct a feasibility study on developing the fee.

"We're not acting to create the stormwater utility," said Village Manager Ron Searl. "We have to come back to the board with information regarding the rfq [request for qualifications] and at that point, the board will make the decision of whether or not to move forward."

The request for qualifications if the first phase of the utility fee process and will help the village assess its needs, evaluate the state of its stormwater management system and prepare the fee estimate, according to Public Works Director Steve May.

May said the second phase would consist of developing the utility and receiving feedback before the fee's implementation.

"Phase one is just to get everything itemized," said May.

Trustee Steve Nero, a member of the stormwater committee, said he estimates the first phase will be completed by January.

At a special meeting Oct. 24, Village Finance Director Spencer Parker said the utility plan could take time to put in place.

"[The fee] is a fair method for determine who pays and how much, but it also could include incentives, which would help reduce long-term costs," Parker said.

The proposed stormwater utility fee would be similar to that of Downers Grove.

Much like Downers Grove's system, the fee would be based on the amount of impervious area on each property, including roofs, decks, parking lots and driveways.

The fee would charge property owners to cover the cost of stormwater sewer projects, which are currently funded by village property taxes.

In Downers Grove, officials said the new utility fee would not significantly affect the amount of money property owners pay the village, because property taxes were cut by nearly $2 million to account for the separate fee.

Most single-family parcels in Downers Grove spend between $6.30 and $12.60 each month for the new fee.

It is unclear if the average fee charged to Westmont homeowners would be comparable.

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