County Panel Debates Who Should Pay for Flood Control

Article excerpt

Byline: Marni Pyke

DuPage leaders still are wrestling with fundamental questions related to who pays for a proposed flood-control fee and how comprehensive it should be.

A county study recommends charging a user fee to every property owner in DuPage, including tax-exempt entities such as local governments and nonprofit organizations, including churches.

The fee would be based on the amount of their paved surfaces. Currently, the county's storm water funding comes mainly from property taxes.

Some county storm water management planning committee members Tuesday argued that charging school districts is inequitable.

"A tax-capped entity like a school district has no capacity for replacement," committee member and Elmhurst Mayor Tom Marcucci said. "I think they'll resent it a great deal."

An average household might pay about $26 to $29 a year, while owners of bigger parcels, such as a typical church, might pay $4,550.

The fee could generate $14 million to $15 million annually. Half of those revenues would go to repaying loans, while the rest would pay for maintenance of structures such as dams and reservoirs, flood mapping, buyouts of chronically water-logged sites and complying with the federal Clean Water Act.

The new policy requires approval from the committee and ultimately the county board. …