Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse to be Temporarily Charged 50% of Calculated Storm Water Rate
In April of this year, Mark Foertmeyer of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse spoke before the Swanton Village Council during public hearing to dispute a monthly storm water utility charge that was initially increased from $3.00 to $589.89 after it was discovered the business was mistakenly being charged the standard residential rate instead of the calculated commercial rate. The new rate was based on a survey of the Foertmeyer property which found over 168,000 square feet of impervious area (structures, parking lots, roadways) and the assumption was made that all the rainfall drained into the Village’s storm water system. Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle was allowed to grant the greenhouse a maximum 30% discount to lower the charge to $412.92 but not as low as Mr. Foertmeyer believed was fair.
According to Mr. Foertmeyer, the method the Village used to calculate the impervious area was basically using measurements taken from a Google Maps photo of the property and not an actual survey to determine the flow of the water. “I think if we can come up with a number that is accurate then we will have a fair assessment,” he said. “If we can take the time to find a correct number, I think we can certainly move together and do what we need to do to finance the sewer system.” He agreed to have a more thorough survey done and provide the Village with those findings. The Council agreed there should be more research on the matter and future payments would be halted until the issue was resolved.
At the August 9th Council meeting, Councilman Dave Pilliod said he wanted to see some movement on the issue since Foertmeyer had yet to provide the Village any survey information and was still not paying any storm water fees. “I propose to Council tonight that we begin to bill them $200 a month. Then, if they object to that, we will certainly look at all the facts they have acquired and bring to us,” said Mr. Pilliod. “But I think it’s unfair for them not to be paying anything until we get this resolved.” After Mr. Pilliod suggested charging Foertmeyer at 33% the original calculated rate, Councilman Craig Rose recommended the number be increased to 50%, approximately $295.
Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle told the Council that Foertmeyer had recently informed her that they received a (storm water) flow map from Natural Resource Management, LLC. She recommended the Village hire an engineering consulting firm, one which with they are familiar, and have them study it to see if they agree with the data.
A motion to start billing Foertmeyer & Sons $294.50 per month in September was approved. The Council agreed to that the charge would be adjusted once all the numbers and been received and verified.
Pictured: Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse on Hallet Ave