LOWELL | With few protests from residents, the Town Council gave preliminary approval Monday to establish stormwater utility fees.
The council is expected to make the fees final when it meets next in two weeks.
As approved, single-family residences would be charged $7 monthly, duplexes would be twice that, and the monthly rate for industries, churches and schools would be capped at $28 a month.
Consultant Greg Guerretaz of Financial Solutions said the fees have been considered for a few years. Most Lake County municipalities already have them in place, he said.
Guerretaz told the Lowell Stormwater Board which met earlier Monday the monthly fees might have been as low as $5 four years ago when they were considered. He said the recommended fees will fund a $311,500 budget that will cover, among other things, maintenance of detention and retention ponds in the town. Abandoned ponds have been a problem. The budget will also fund the lease/purchase of a street sweeper and capital projects.
Resident Carl Ferro asked how the fees were calculated.
Guerretaz said the fees were generated by dividing the budget needed by the total square footage of all roofs in the town.
Council President Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, said the fees were made necessary by unfunded federal mandates under the MS4 requirements.
"I reluctantly vote to add expenses on our citizens ... but you pay now or pay later," said Councilman Edgar Corns, R-5th. He said the town would be subject to federal fines if requirements are not met.
In a related matter, Greg White spent his first day on board as the town's MS4 coordinator.