99-023-O
ORDINANCE NO. __________

AN ORDINANCE EXEMPTING CERTAIN RURAL RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY FROM STORMWATER UTILITY FEES; AMENDING SECTIONS 43-65 AND 43-66 OF THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED.

BY COUNCILOR GILBERT:

        The city of Duluth does ordain:

                Section 1.     That Section 43-65 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-65. Definitions.

For the purpose of this Article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given them in this Section:

Budget. The budget of the stormwater utility. The budget shall include yearly operating and maintenance costs, capital costs, debt service and amounts necessary to meet unanticipated costs.

Capital costs. Costs reasonably incurred in connection with providing capital improvements to the system or any portion thereof, including but not limited to:

        (a)     Acquisition of all property, real or personal and all interests in connection therewith, including all rights-of-way and easements therefor;

        (b)     Physical construction, installation and testing, including the costs of labor, services, materials, supplies and utility services used in connection therewith;

        (c)     Architectural, engineering, legal and other professional services;

        (d)     Expenses of obtaining permits or approvals before construction or other project charges which become due during construction;

        (e)     Any miscellaneous expenses incidental to a project.

Debt service. The principal and interest necessary to pay an indebtedness of the city related to the stormwater utility in any year.

Director. The director of public works or the director's designee.

Dwelling unit. A single unit that provides complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons including permanent provision for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

Equivalent residential unit or ERU. The average impervious area of residential property per dwelling unit located within the city.

ERU rate. A utility fee charged on each ERU as established by resolution as provided herein.

Impervious area. Roofed and paved areas, including, but not limited to, areas covered by roofs, roof extensions, patios, porches, driveways, sidewalks, parking areas and athletic courts.

Nonresidential property. Developed property that is classified by the city assessor as Property Types 3 and 5 pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Section 273.13. Property that has a mixture of residential and nonresidential uses shall be considered nonresidential.

Operating and maintenance costs. The current paid or accrued expenses of operation, maintenance and current repair of the system, as calculated in accordance with sound accounting practices and includes, without limitation, administrative expenses, labor, the cost of materials and supplies used for current operations and charges for the accumulation of appropriate reserves for current expenses not annually incurred but which are such as may be reasonably expected to be incurred in accordance with sound accounting practices.

Residential property. Developed property that is classified by the city assessor as land use Types 1, 4 and 2a pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Section 273.13.

Rural residential property. Residential property that is determined by the director to be rural in character. In determining whether property is rural, the director shall consider:

        (a)     Location of the parcel of property;

        (b)     Zoning classification of the parcel of property;

        (c)     Size of the parcel;

        (d)     Distance from the parcel to stormwater facilities;

        (e)     Amount of impervious surface on the parcel;

        (f)      Distance from the parcel to other developed parcels;

        (g)     Benefit derived by the parcel from stormwater facilities;

        (h)     Whether or not the parcel is being served by other city utilities;

        (i)      Expense of collecting stormwater utility fees in relation to the amount of revenue raised.

Stormwater drainage system or system. The existing constructed and natural stormwater drainage facilities and channels of the city and all improvements thereto which are the property and responsibility of the utility, to be operated by the utility to, among other things, conserve water, control discharges necessitated by rainfall events, incorporate methods to collect, convey, store, absorb, inhibit, treat, use or reuse water to prevent or reduce flooding, over-drainage, environmental degradation and water pollution or otherwise affect the quality and quantity of discharge from such system.

Stormwater utility or utility. The utility created by this Article to operate, maintain and improve the stormwater drainage system.

Utility fee. A utility fee authorized by Minnesota law and this Article which is established to pay for operations and maintenance, extension and replacement and debt service.

                Section 2.     That Section 43-66 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 43-66. Rates and charges.

        (a)     The stormwater utility shall charge utility fees as provided in this Article to recover from property benefitting from the system the capital costs, debt service, operation and maintenance costs of stormwater facilities in the city. Subject to the limitations contained in this Section, this Article shall apply to all property in the city of Duluth;

        (b)     Utility fees shall be based upon the amount of impervious area on the benefitting property and shall be computed as provided in this Article. Each parcel of property within the city shall be categorized as residential, nonresidential or undisturbed property. The utility fees for each type of property shall be as follows:

                (1)     The utility fee for residential property shall be the ERU rate multiplied by the number of dwelling units existing on the property;

                (2)     The utility fee for nonresidential property shall be the ERU rate multiplied by the numerical factor obtained by dividing the total impervious area for a nonresidential property by one ERU. The minimum utility fee for any nonresidential property shall be equal to one ERU rate;

                (3)     Undisturbed parcels of land shall be exempt from the utility fee;

        (c)     The city council shall, by resolution, adopt a schedule of utility fees sufficient to produce revenue equal to the budget of the stormwater utility. The resolution shall state the utility fee rate per ERU;

        (d)     The director shall gather impervious area data on residential property within the city and calculate an ERU value. The utility fees shall be based on this ERU value. In determining the ERU value, the director shall not be required to measure and consider all residential property in the city, but shall consider a reasonable sample representing areas throughout the city. The director shall further investigate nonresidential properties within the city to determine the impervious area on each property. The determination of impervious area made by the director shall be conclusive unless modified by the adjustment procedure set forth in this Article. The director shall endeavor to investigate and reestablish an ERU value for the city every five years after the effective date of this ordinance [Article];

        (e)     Public rights-of-way, rural residential property not connected to a city sewer, and airport runways and taxiways shall be exempt from utility fees;

        (f)     The utility fees established by this Article are the joint and several responsibility of the owner, lessee and the occupant of each lot or parcel subject to the fee. The director shall cause monthly bills to be sent for each lot or parcel and shall develop a billing and collection system for said fees. Bills may be combined with other city utility bills. The city council may provide for penalties and interest for late payments in the resolution establishing the utility fee rate;

        (g)     Delinquent utility fees shall be collected as provided in Minnesota Statutes 444.075, Subd. 3, in the same manner as taxes against the property and may also be collected in an action at law against the owner, lessee or the occupant of the parcel. On or before July 1 of each year, the director shall transmit to the city assessor a list of all delinquent stormwater utility fees for the preceding calendar year and the parcels which each delinquent fee relates to. Upon receipt of such list, the city assessor shall prepare a delinquent utility fee roll containing, in columns, the name of the owner, if known, of each lot or parcel where utility fees are delinquent, a description of each lot or parcel and the amount of delinquent utility fees from the previous year. On or before August 1 of each year, the city assessor shall certify the delinquent utility fee roll to the city council. The city clerk shall send notice by first class mail to the apparent owner of each lot or parcel of land and any other party known to have a legal interest in the property stating the amount of the utility fee due, a description of the property, that the utility fees are due and payable before October 1 of that year and that the delinquent utility fee roll is on file in the office of the city clerk. If the city council finds the roll to be proper and correct, it shall by resolution confirm the roll on or before October 1. The confirming resolution shall contain a collection fee added to each amount due to reimburse the city for its administrative costs of collection. On or before the tenth day of October each year, the city treasurer shall file with the county auditor a certified statement of all delinquent utility fees under this Article, describing the land affected and giving the amount of the fee, with a ten percent penalty added, after which the delinquent fee shall be processed in the same manner as an assessment under the provisions of Chapter 70 of the City Charter.

                Section 3.     That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days from and after its passage and publication until January 1, 2003; after that date, this ordinance shall be null and void and of no further effect.