Warsaw City Council Monday failed to approve an ordinance to establish a stormwater utility rate for the city.
Councilwoman Elaine Call made the motion to approve the ordinance as presented, and Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer called for the motion to be seconded, but it died due to a lack of a second.
The council previously reviewed the ordinance during its March 3 meeting.
The city does not currently have a fee to assist with stormwater utility costs. Thallemer said the city has worked for a year to come up with a fair and low stormwater utility rate.
The cost for stormwater charges was proposed at $2.95 per residential unit per month. For non-residential real estate properties, each business would pay based on the equivalent residential units they have.
The bill for non-residential real estate would be based on actual measures of the amount of impervious or “hard surface” that is on the property. It would be billed at a $1.05 base fee plus $1.90 per each 3,500 square feet of impervious surface on a property.
The user fee is being proposed to pay for costs of escalating stormwater mandates. The utility fee covers initiatives that are required by Indiana Department of Environmental Management as well as capital improvement costs associated with projects designed to improve drainage and mitigate flooding in Warsaw.
Warsaw was identified as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System under the Clean Water Act of 1972 and is required to comply with the Phase II Stormwater Regulation as implemented by IDEM.
There was also an issue Monday of whether or not credits should be in the ordinance and whether the stormwater rate should be increased to allow credits. Thallemer said the city needs to know what revenue needs are for capital projects before credits can be considered.
Cary Lewis, Lewis Salvage, attended the meeting and said he wanted a direct discharge credit, which would mean because he lives at the edge of the city and his industrial water discharges to the ditch, he would be credited for that impervious surface. He would not have to pay for the surface area’s wastewater because the stormwater goes to the ditch outside city limits.
Lewis also wanted the ability to appeal the stormwater bill based on where the stormwater goes.