URBANA — The first bills for the the city's new storm water fee are expected to go out in September 2013.
Just weeks after a similar charge on property owners for storm water runoff got council support in Champaign, the Urbana City Council finalized its storm water fee on Monday night with a 7-1 vote.
Owners of Urbana single-family homes and duplexes will pay exactly what most Champaign homeowners will owe: $59.28 annually. Multifamily residential and commercial property owners will pay $4.94 per month per 3,100 square feet of impervious surface area.
Mayor Laurel Prussing said she reduced the billing rate before Monday's approval. Two weeks ago, the city council supported a slightly higher rate, about $2.52 more per year for Urbana homeowners.
The storm water fee passed with minimal comment from council members on Monday after they spent months crafting the fee and poring over the details.
Alderwoman Heather Stevenson, R-Ward 6, was the lone no vote — she did not comment on Monday night but, in the past, has said homeowners should not have to foot the bill for the city's lack of consistent maintenance of its drainage system.
The fee is expected to generate about $1.7 million in new revenue dedicated to maintenance and improvements to the drainage system. The city had already been committing $800,000 annually to that effort — that money will be rolled back into the general fund, which pays for various operating costs.
As when Champaign approved its fee, church representatives asked why they are not exempt. Evelyn B. Underwood, an associate minister at New Free Will Baptist Church, said churches could have a hard time coming up with the money.
"It looks like something should be done specially for churches," she said. "And I guess I don't have the answer, but I am very concerned."