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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Illinois Passes Storm Water Management Bill

On May 16, 2013, the Illinois legislature passed a stormwater management bill (HB1522) targeting two counties hit by recent flooding: DuPage and Peoria County If signed, the new law would provide the two counties with authority to develop a county-wide plan for stormwater management and collect fees from landowners to pay for the cost of the administering the plan. The law follows local government’s trend toward “stormwater utilities,” a mechanism for funding stormwater management efforts based on the cost of serving individual landowners. Like your water utility, the stormwater utility fee would be a charge for your use of the local government’s infrastructure.
The fee envisioned in HB1522 must be “specifically and uniquely attributable” to the county’s cost of serving each individual property. Funds collected must be managed in a separate account devoted entirely to administering the county stormwater management plan. Alternatively, the two counties could impose a 0.20% property tax increase to be managed in the same fashion as the fee. In Peoria (but not DuPage) County, the fee/tax must be approved by referendum vote. Landowners will have two years notice of the fee before it will take affect. In the meantime, landowners may take actions to implement green infrastructure measures, or otherwise reduce stormwater discharges, which would reduce their fee.
If a municipality within DuPage or Peoria County has an existing stormwater management plan or ordinance, which is as or more stringent than the County plan, it may petition the county to be exempt from county regulations. Moreover, DuPage and Peoria County may jointly administer the stormwater management plan and fee collection authority with other “governing bodies” through an intergovernmental agreement.
There are plenty of unknowns in the bill and opportunities for entities to get involved and shape both the county regulations and the stormwater planning process. Moreover, there are numerous ancillary powers that are given to the two counties (i.e. petition to dissolve drainage districts; authority to enter private property) that could take on a life of their own. 
If you have any questions about how your municipality (or private property) fits into this scheme, feel free to call Brent Denzin in our Chicago Office or Derke Price in our Naperville Office.
Post Authored by Brent Denzin, Ancel Glink


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