Storm Water Utility

The proposed Storm Water Utility was denied by the Common Council 5-2 at the
December 7, 2021 Common Council meeting.

What is a Storm Water Utility?

Over the past several years, The City of Burlington has seen more frequent large and intense rain events. The storm water runoff that is generated overwhelms the existing storm sewer system. This flooding causes dangerous travel conditions and standing water around the City long after the rain event has passed. In order to maintain and improve the storm water system the City of Burlington is seeking to establish a Storm Water Utility. There are over 120 storm water utilities within the State of Wisconsin.

A Storm Water Utility would provide an equitable way to fund mandated and necessary improvements to the City’s storm water infrastructure. The utility would be an enterprise fund for which storm water related revenues and expenditures are separate from the City of Burlington’s general tax levy and is a more equitable way to fund storm water improvements because the user fees are based on how much run-off the user produces, not their property’s value or tax status.

All properties within the City would be charged a fee based on the amount of impervious surface and stormwater generated. This would include properties owned by nonprofit organizations such as schools and churches. This spreads the responsibility for funding improvements to all users proportionally based on how much their properties contribute to the storm water burden of the community.

Impervious surfaces (i.e. rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, etc.) do not allow storm water to properly infiltrate into the ground creating additional runoff volume. As the stormwater travels over the impervious surfaces it collects oils, grease, fertilizers, pesticides, trash, grass clippings, leaves, and chemicals which all end up in the surrounding bodies of water. These pollutants create poor water quality and have negative impacts to the animals, plants and users that rely on these bodies of water.

Storm water utility funds are dedicated to the planning, maintenance and construction of storm water facilities necessary to reduce runoff pollutants to meet the WDNR and EPA mandates. Storm water facilities may include detention ponds, rain gardens, infiltration basins, storm sewer maintenance and improvements, street sweeping, leaf collection, and erosion control.

Storm water Utility Creation

The City is proposing to create a storm water utility allowed under Wisconsin State Statute § 66.0821 by creating a Storm Water Utility Ordinance.  The proposed ordinance will be discussed at the November 2, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers, 224 E. Jefferson Street or via Zoom using the link in the meeting agenda.

Public Hearing - November 16

 Public Hearing will be conducted by the Common Council during their regular meeting which follows immediately after the 6:30 p.m. Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 in the Council Chambers, 224 E. Jefferson Street, Burlington, WI 53105 via Zoom using the link in the meeting agenda

Stormwater Community Meeting - November 9

The City of Burlington has scheduled a community meeting to provide residents and property owners with information regarding the proposed creation of a Stormwater Utility. The meeting will have a presentation detailing what a stormwater utility is, how the utility works, and what benefits it can provide the community. Following the presentation members of the community will be able to ask questions of staff and express opinions about the utility. The meeting will occur at the Veteran’s Terrace, 589 Milwaukee Avenue on Tuesday November 9, 2021 at 5 PM.

Residents and property owners unable to attend this meeting may always reach out to staff to ask questions through our website or by calling the Department of Public Works at 262-342-1181. Residents and property owners are also encouraged to express their opinions at the Public Hearing scheduled for the Common Council Meeting on Tuesday November 16.


How a Storm Water Utility Will Impact Property Owners

Parcels will be charged based on their classification determined by the total Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU) of a property, which is the impervious surface area of a property. The table below estimates ERU for each property parcel within the City of Burlington. Estimated storm water fees are shown for three possible utility budget scenarios. The utility budget is scenario is listed in red with the corresponding rate listed below it in green. These utility budgets are presented for illustrative purposes and show the potential range of fee impacts based on likely budget scenarios. The actual budget for the Utility and rate per ERU would be set by the Common Council as part of the annual budget adoption.

Properties are listed in Parcel ID order. To find a property you own either scroll through the list to find your Parcel ID or use the search function of your PDF viewer. Street addresses are listed as well and may be searchable based on the capabilities of your PDF viewer.

Proposed Storm Water Utility ERUs, Budget and Rate Ranges

City of Burlington Storm Water Utility Feasibility Study 

Discussions at Committee of the Whole Meetings

May 18, 2021 Discussion 
June 1, 2021 Discussion 
July 6, 2021 Discussion
September 7, 2021 Discussion
September 21, 2021 Discussion
November 2, 2021 Discussion

Contact Us

  1. Peter Riggs

    Public Works Director

    2200 S. Pine Street
    Burlington, WI 53105

    Phone: 262-342-1181
    Fax: 262-539-3773


    Monday - Friday
    8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.