Storm water management fees are billed monthly to all customers to fund the city’s storm water management program and facilities. This management program brings the city into compliance with federal regulations and safeguards our community directly through infrastructure improvements, improved inspection, maintenance of critical storm water facilities, and indirectly through such programs as public education and outreach. Storm Water Utility charges to properties are based on that property’s contribution to the need for storm water management and facilities.
Use of Fees
- The storm water management fees pay for operations and maintenance costs of the storm water management programs and facilities. Some of the services tied to the storm water management program include the following:
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Improving water quality
- Public education and outreach
- Storm sewer system maintenance, repairs, and construction
Owners of all developed land in the City of Urbandale pay the storm water utility fee. This includes residential properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, churches, schools, and other non-profit organizations. Undeveloped land is not charged storm water utility fees because it does not have impervious surfaces.
Different From Tax
The storm water utility fee is a user fee, much like the fee that you pay for your water utility or sanitary sewer utility services. Users of these services are charged for the demand they place on the system. This user fee system is a fair and equitable way to raise revenue for the program since it charges those who directly contribute to its need.
The storm water that flows off your property places a demand on a vast system of storm water infrastructure, which is costly to operate and maintain. Existing water utility fees do not pay for storm water management. However, the problem of water pollution has called attention to the need for greater safeguards in the management of storm water. The city must minimize the impacts of flooding and storm water pollution from the runoff generated from rooftops, yards, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets.
Storm Water Fees in Other Cities
A number of municipalities in the United States have established storm water utilities to fund their storm water management programs and facilities. Communities in central Iowa include:
- Des Moines
- West Des Moines
- Windsor Heights
Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)
An ERU is a measure of impervious surface on a property. The City of Urbandale has established 1 ERU as 3,200 square feet of impervious surface.
An impervious surface is any surface area that does not readily absorb water. Because water cannot be absorbed adequately, it runs off these surfaces and must be managed through well planned, constructed and maintained stormwater facilities to prevent flooding and pollution of the receiving waters.
The stormwater management fee is based on the amount of total impervious surface on your property. This amount of impervious surface is a good gauge of how much your property is contributing to the overall need for stormwater management facilities in our community.
Calculating the Fees
Property owners are charged storm water management fees based on the total impervious surface area on the property. The storm water management fee system is based on the total impervious surface area divided by 1 ERU. All single family dwelling properties are charged a fee of 1 ERU.
Duplex dwellings with 2 family dwelling units will be treated as 2 single family dwellings. Townhome dwellings that are not attached vertically are treated as 1 single family dwelling. Apartments are treated as commercial properties.
Commercial and industrial properties with greater than 1 ERU of impervious surface are charged for the total ERUs. For example: a commercial property with 8,000 square feet of total impervious surface would be billed for 2.5 ERUs (8,000 square feet divided by 3,200 square feet (1 ERU) equals 2.5 ERUs).
Rate & Errors
In 2023, the Urbandale City Council approved a rate change. Starting July 1, 2023, the monthly rate is $7 per ERU per month for the first 100 ERUs, and then $6 per ERU per month for each additional ERU above 100. Single-family dwelling properties are charged 1 ERU, regardless of size. The storm water utility fee was last increased in 2016.
The storm water management fees are billed by the Urbandale Water Utility and are made payable monthly at the same time payment for city water and garbage is made. You can contact the Engineering and Public Works Department at 515-278-3950 if you discover errors on your bill.
Read our Storm Water Flyer for more information on the Storm Water Fees.