Storm Water Fee

Currently, Lewiston residents pay a storm water fee.  Auburn residents do not.  The Commission’s report recommends that a merged city should adopt a storm water fee for everyone.  Won’t this reduce the tax savings being projected for Auburn side residents?

How are storm water management costs covered in Auburn today?

Storm water management costs are covered by property taxes, which are assessed on the value of land plus buildings. The costs to manage storm water are not broken out and charged separately.

Once consequence of this is that nonprofits and other organizations that do not pay property taxes do not contribute to the city's costs for storm water management.

How are storm water management costs covered in Lewiston today?

Storm water management costs are not covered by taxes paid by Lewiston property owners. They are funded separately and are assessed on the square footage of impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, parking lots, etc.

All property owners share in the cost of dealing with water from rain and snow. Thus, non-profit organizations (e.g., hospitals, colleges, churches) that do not pay property taxes, contribute to these costs.

How are the storm water management fees assessed in Lewiston?

Storm water management fees are based on the square footage of impervious surfaces present on a property. Impervious surfaces determine the run-off generated from a property and the amount of impervious surface is directly correlated to the cost of managing storm water.

Using existing data from the Geographic Information System, the square footage of impervious surfaces is readily available for all properties.

Why did Lewiston shift to a fee structure for storm water management?

Lewiston considers the fee structure to be the most equitable way to fund storm water management because it is based on square footage of impervious surfaces, which is directly correlated to the costs. For example, a property owner with a large commercial building and sizable parking area pays considerably more for storm water management than a single-family homeowner.

The fee structure also provides property tax relief to homeowners because property tax-exempt organizations are contributing to the city’s storm water management costs.

What are the implications of the storm water fee on property tax?

Lewiston shifted to a fee structure for storm water management in 2007. At that time, the $1.9 million in storm water management expense, if paid with property taxes, would have cost $1.27 per $1,000 assessed valuation. A typical single-family home in Lewiston valued at $80,000 would have paid an additional $102 in property taxes for storm water management. With the storm water management fee structure in place, the same home paid $50.

If Lewiston and Auburn merge, will a storm water management fee be introduced in Auburn or will Lewiston shift back to an all-inclusive property tax?

The Charter Commission has taken no position on this issue.

If the voters of both Lewiston and Auburn approve the proposed charter and consolidation agreement in November 2017, there will be a 26-month transition period when this and other issues will be considered. After the merger is finalized on January 1, 2020, a new city council will make decisions on this and other issues.

Whether the funded from property taxes or a separate assessment, the cost to dispose of storm water will continue.