City will revisit controversial stormwater fee

Following thousands of complaints about the city's new stormwater utility fee formula this spring, a City Council committee vowed May 17 to review the formula later this summer.

According to the Minneapolis Observer newspaper, the city received 3,400 calls about the stormwater fee in March and April. Four hundred property owners have challenged their bills - and 95 percent have won so far, program supervisor Rhonda Rae said.

Until March, stormwater charges were linked to water use. The city now relies on estimates of a lot's "hard surface." The change was made so properties that send more runoff into the stormwater system can pay more of its costs.

In general, the change has benefited multi-unit apartment buildings but hurt institutions with large parking lots and duplex owners on lots with the same footprint as single-family homes.

Council Member Scott Benson (11th Ward) said, "I've heard nothing but complaints about this since we started this. We should call it the Full Employment for Council Aides Act."

Benson said at the very least, the city should reduce its fee structure for affected duplex owners.

Public Works officials said they are studying the problems and will make recommendations by August.