Where did stormwater utility charge come from?
The Stormwater Utility was approved by City Council on July 2, 2002 and took effect January 1, 2003.
What is stormwater?
Stormwater refers to rain water, snowmelt or excess water from lawn watering that flows off streets and lots. The storm sewer system collects stormwater and disposes it into stormwater lakes, creeks, or the North Saskatchewan River.
What is the stormwater charge for?
The fee is for the collection, quality enhancement and disposal of stormwater that runs off our streets and properties into the sewer system. It includes construction and maintenance of storm sewers, as well as other stormwater management/quality enhancement facilities.
Does everyone pay stormwater utility?
Yes, the utility collects a fee from all customers who benefit from the system. This is to ensure the system is fair and equitable to everyone.
Why am I being charged for something I can’t control?
Stormwater is considered a utility because it provides a base service and benefit to customers. The charge is for the base service, just like there is a basic or flat service fee each month for the use of the sanitary sewer.
Do other municipalities use the utility bill to collect funding for stormwater?
In both Canada and the U.S., other municipalities have implemented Stormwater Utility.
Don’t we already pay for stormwater through Property Taxes?
Not anymore. The Stormwater Utility replaces paying for the system through property taxes.
Is this a once a year utility charge?
No. It appears on your EPCOR bill each month.
How is the stormwater fee calculated?
- Area of property - your lot size in square metres (m2).
- Development Intensity - the measure of the portion of lot being utilized for its intended development.
- For residential customers the intensity of development factor is 1
- For non-residential properties that are largely undeveloped or utilizing on-site stormwater management, a reduced factor may apply
Run-off coefficient - the permeability of your lot's surface (i.e. grass versus concrete), based on land zoning.
- Properties draining directly to the North Saskatchewan River are eligible for a credit to reduce their stormwater fee
Rate - The rate approved by City Council applies to all properties.
- The run-off coefficient for a single detached residential house is typically 0.5-0.65. However, depending on your property's land zoning classification, the run-off coefficient can range from 0.20 to 0.95.
Where did you get the lot size information?
From the property tax assessment database.
Why is the size they have for my property different than what is on the tax bill?
Call 311 for more information.
How was the rate determined?
The rate was set to ensure that the drainage system can maintain services and infrastructure as well as meet its financial obligations in the future.
Does everyone pay the same rate?
Yes, all residential customers pay the same base rate (as approved by Council). However, the monthly fee may vary depending on the size of the lot and the land zoning type of the property.
Are determining factors the same for everyone?
Yes. Intensity of development factor is the measure of the portion of lot being used for its intended development. The intensity development factor is 1 for residential customers.
Is GST charged to my utility fee?
No, GST is not charged on drainage fees.
I have lots of grass and rain barrels that catch all the rain from my roof. Can I get a rebate or credit for conserving and capturing stormwater?
No. There is no rebate or credit program for capturing and containing stormwater in rain barrels or through absorbent landscaping.
Why isn't there a rebate or credit program for residential customers?
The reasons are twofold. First, the use of rain barrels and absorbent landscaping does not significantly decrease runoff during a large rainfall event. Second, implementing and administering such a credit program is too costly. These costs would far outweigh any financial savings to the ratepayer.
Who do I call at the City to question how my utility fee was calculated?
Call 311 for more information.