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Stormwater Improvements: Why We Need to Change the Way We Pay (DOWNLOAD FULL INFO pdf)(PDF, 2MB)

Stormwater-Improvements-Why-We-Need-to-Change-the-Way-We-Pay.png(PDF, 2MB)

Stormwater Utility Fee

The Unified Government is considering a change to the current stormwater fee. The most recent proposal includes feedback from businesses and homeowners. Community feedback was clear – KCK needs a stormwater rate structure that is fair for all users, reduces frequent flooding risks, and adequately funds the maintenance & enhancement of stormwater infrastructure like inlets, culverts, underground pipes, and roadside ditches.

Many community members were surprised to learn that under the current structure, small properties and large properties pay the same $4.50 monthly user fee regardless of their total contribution to stormwater runoff. The current fee structure is not just unfair for many homeowners and small businesses; it also fails to generate the funding needed to mitigate flooding risks, repairing failing stormwater infrastructure, and perform routine maintenance.


What is the purpose of the stormwater rate transition?

The current flat monthly fee of $4.50 has not changed since 2012, and it does not generate the revenue needed to adequately maintain or improve Kansas City's stormwater program.  Transitioning to a new rate would provide the funding needed to reduce flooding risks, enhance & maintain complex drainage systems, and improve water quality.

What is the mission of the stormwater program?

The stormwater program is designed to:
  • Minimize flooding risks
  • Protect property, infrastructure, and the environment
  • Sustainably manage the City's stormwater infrastructure
  • Enhance the community's safety and health
  • Reduce pollution in creeks and rivers

What does the stormwater system provide?

The stormwater program allows the Unified Government to:

  • Mitigate flooding risks
  • Maintain and operate a complex drainage system
  • Rehabilitate and improve the City's drainage system of inlets, pipes, streams, and other waterways
  • Comply with all State and Federal stormwater regulatory requirements
  • Implement green solutions and best stormwater management practices

What does our community need?

Our community needs a stormwater program that reduces frequent flood risks, supports regular maintenance activity, enhances infrastructure, improves water quality, and is fair for every ratepayer.

Who pays for the program?

Under the current funding system, all customers with an electric or water account pay a $4.50 monthly fee.  This rate has not changed since 2012.  The monthly fee generates $3.4 Million per year for maintenance, improvement, and emergency response.  This amount is not enough to adequately maintain or improve the stormwater system.

What are the program's challenges?

The current $4.50 monthly stormwater fee is not proportional.  Properties that produce large volumes of stormwater runoff pay the same amount as properties that produce small volumes of runoff. 

The current $4.50 monthly stormwater fee is also not adequate.  The current flat rate does not generate enough revenue to maintain or improve the city's existing stormwater infrastructure.

What are the solutions?

There are currently two solutions to the City's stormwater issues:

  1. Transition to a rate structure based on impervious surface, or
  2. Increase the flat fee

What are the benefits of change?

Revising the current stormwater fee will create a system where:

  • Properties pay based on the size of their contribution to stormwater runoff
  • More funding is available to address infrastructure challenges
  • The stormwater user fee is more balanced for everyone

The Unified Government believes the stormwater fee should be based on similar systems used throughout the United States: impervious area.

Impervious areas are hard surfaces like roofs and parking lots. Hardscaped areas restrict stormwater's ability to be absorbed into the ground, and that restriction leads to increased runoff and pollution.

What's next?

The Board of County Commissioners and Public Works staff will continue to study the problem and explore options.

Where can I send feedback?

Your input matters!  Download a copy of the Stormwater Comments & Preference Sheet.(PDF, 467KB)  Digital copies may be emailed to  Print copies may be sent to C/O Public Works, 701 N. 7th Street, Room 712, Kansas City, Kansas 66101.

Who can I contact with questions?

We're here to help!  Please contact Sarah White, Jonathan Wiles, or Dave Reno at or (913) 573-5400

What happens if we do nothing?

If the current flat $4.50 user fee is not increased or transitioned to a structure based on hard surface, the City's stormwater infrastructure will become increasingly less effective:

  • Regular maintenance will continue to be deferred to manage emergencies
  • Emergencies will increase in frequency and severity
  • The need to manage emergencies will reduce service delivery at all levels
  • The safety of residents, businesses, and visitors will decline