[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fairfax 8-1-1995 by Ord. No. 118. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The municipal storm sewer system shall be conducted as a public utility pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 444.075 (2005), from which revenues will be derived subject to the provisions of this chapter and said Minnesota Statutes. The stormwater drainage utility shall be a part of the Street Department. Just and reasonable charges for use, access, connection, and availability of storm sewer drainage facilities shall be calculated and determined based on expected and typical stormwater runoff as may be calculated within reasonable and practical limits and with due and equitable charges.
In the exercise of its governmental authority and in order to promote the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare, the City has constructed, operated and maintained a storm drainage system ("the system"). This chapter is adopted in the further exercise of such authority and for the same purpose.
The system, as constructed, heretofore has been financed and paid for through the imposition of special assessments and ad valorem taxes. It is now necessary and desirable to provide an alternative method of recovering some or all of the future costs of improving, maintaining and operating the system through the imposition of charges as provided in this chapter.
In imposing charges, it is necessary to establish a methodology that undertakes to make them just and equitable. Taking into account the status of completion of the system, past methods of recovering system costs, the topography of the City and other relevant factors, it is determined that it would be just and equitable to assign responsibility for some or all of the future costs of operating, maintaining and improving the system on the basis of the expected stormwater runoff from the various parcels of land within the City during a standard rainfall event. For the purposes of this chapter, a standard rainfall event is defined as the one-hundred-year storm of one-day duration.
There is hereby created a Storm Drainage Utility Fund, into which all charges, when collected, and all monies received from the sale of any facilities, equipment or any by-product shall be placed. Such monies shall be used first to pay the normal, reasonable and current costs of operating and maintaining the facilities. Storm sewer water charges shall be included on the monthly utility bill. Payment shall be due and payable in full upon receipt of the bill. Each billing for stormwater drainage fees for use and availability which are not paid when due shall incur a penalty charge. Penalty charges established by the City Council for other utilities shall apply to stormwater utility bills.
The City Council shall by resolution from time to time establish rates and charges for connection of new or improved facilities to the storm drainage system and the use of the storm drainage system and shall determine a standard Residential Equivalent Unit (REU). For the purposes of this chapter and resolution adopted under the provisions of this chapter, "Residential Equivalent Unit" is defined as the volume of surface water runoff coming from a standard one-third acre, single-family lot during a standard rainfall event, calculated through the use of Natural Resource Conservation Service Technical Release-55.
The charge to be made against each parcel of land shall be determined by multiplying the REU for the parcel's land use classification times the parcel's acreage times the basic system rate. The REU for the following land uses within the City and the billing classifications for such land uses are as follows:
Other land uses not listed in the foregoing table shall be classified by the City Clerk-Treasurer by assigning them to classes most nearly like the listed uses, from the standpoint of runoff volume for the standard rainfall event. An appeal of the City Clerk-Treasurer's determination of the property classification may be made to the City Council.
The City Council may by resolution adopt policies providing for the adjustment of charges for parcels or groups of parcels, based upon land use data supplied by affected property owners, which data must demonstrate a runoff volume for the standard rainfall event substantially different from the REU number being used for the parcel or parcels. Such adjustment shall be considered by the City Council.
Public rights-of-way, vacant unimproved land, and City-owned land are exempt from storm drainage charges.
Any past due stormwater drainage fees in excess of 90 days past due on October 1 of any year may be certified to the County Auditor for collection with real estate taxes in the following year pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 444.075, Subd. 3e (2005). In addition, the City shall have the right to bring a civil action or to take other legal remedies to collect unpaid charges.
If a property owner or person responsible for paying the stormwater drainage charge questions the correctness of such a charge, such person may have the determination of the charge recomputed by written request to the City Clerk-Treasurer. Such request shall be made within 30 days of the mailing of the billing in question. Any adjustment in the REU basis, however, must be made under the provisions of § 197-6.