Monroeville establishes ‘MS4’ fee
Monroeville approved an ordinance Oct. 9, allowing it to fee residents, property owners and places of worship yearly to fund its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4.
The fund is expected to raise $3.2 million a year and be used for various sediment and flood control projects throughout the municipality.
Fees were determined by calculating a property’s “equivalent residential units,” or ERUs. One ERU is equivalent to 2,385 square feet.
Residents will be charged $120 a year.
Owners of larger properties were assessed individually to calculate how many ERUs are present. Some of those include the Monroeville Mall, which will be charged $222,840 a year, and Gateway School District at $91,920.
Places of worship have been given a 25 percent discount to the yearly fee, which was an added provision to the original ordinance. The provision comes after a Monroeville pastor said the fees are unfair to religious institutions.
In order to qualify for the discount, religious institutions must be used “only for the conduct of religious services and/or religious education,” according to the ordinance.
During the program’s first year, all property owners will be given a 2 percent discount if paid by March 31, 2019, according to the ordinance. Starting January 2020, a 10 percent late fee is charged if fees are not paid by June 30.
The Turtle Creek Valley Council of Government will do the MS4 billing.
The proposed ordinance also creates an appeal process for individuals who disagree with how a property was assessed. Council’s next step is to appoint a three-person appeals board.
The updated ordinance slashed an entire section that set up a monthly 1 percent late fee and a 1 percent interest rate for each month it isn’t paid.
The fee calculations were based on an MS Consultants report that found Monroeville’s five-year Pollution Reduction Plan will cost $37.7 million, or $7.5 million per year. The PRP is only one part of the multifaceted MS4 program, which includes reducing the municipality’s 801,302 pounds of sediment per year at $47 per pound by using bioswales, retention ponds, permeable pavement, street sweeping, stream restoration and forested buffers.
To read the ordinance, visit bit.ly/2A2Txxo.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.