storm water fund collection moves in house

Beginning in January, Mt. Lebanon will collect the Storm Water Fund, which was previously collected by Jordan Tax Services.

The fund, enacted in 2011 to ensure a steady stream of money for operation and maintenance of storm water infrastructure, assesses a fee to every property in Mt. Lebanon with an impervious area (area covered by asphalt or otherwise unable to allow storm water to drain) of at least 800 square feet. Owners of single family homes pay a flat fee of about $8 per month based on the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), which is the median amount of impervious surface found on single family residences in the Mt. Lebanon service area.

Tax office supervisor Mary Abbott says when the storm water fund was instituted in 2011, the tax office did not have time to immediately send out the bills in the tight time window between enactment and collection.

“It just made sense to have Jordan do it,” she says.

Last year’s revamping of the real estate billing process included a new vendor, Pittsburgh Mailing, which includes upgraded in-house software and a new vendor to handle mailing, making it easier to bring the storm water billing in-house.

The new system will bring some changes. The 2 percent early payment discount will be available in January and February. Residents can pay the face value of the bill in March and April and after that will be assessed a 5 percent penalty plus interest. Also, paying in installments used to be an option for everyone; now it’s limited to property owners with five or more ERUs. In the past, the number of single-family units, or those smaller than five ERUs that used the payment planwere so small that it was not cost-effective to track them. 

“Very, very few regular households paid in installments,”
Abbott says.

Jordan still handles delinquent billing, Abbott says. The tax office will collect the fees through November, and then will turn the list of delinquents over to Jordan.

“We’re doing everything else here,” says Abbott. “We’re doing our own programming, and it won’t require any additional staff. It just made sense to take it over.”