WHAT IS STORMWATER?
Stormwater is the rain and melted snow that flows from your property, onto the streets and into the storm drains. Along the way, the stormwater picks up debris, chemicals and other pollutants from rooftops and paved surfaces that enter the storm drains and watercourses.
WHAT IS THE STORMWATER CHARGE?
The stormwater charge is a new user fee that will be used to help fund Newmarket's Stormwater Management program. The stormwater charge came into effect in 2017. The charge appears in the Special Fees and Charges section on your tax bill.
WHAT IS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT?
The Town provides stormwater management services to protect the community and environment from stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is water that flows off properties mostly due to rain and snow events.
Hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, and parking lots increase the amount of runoff from each property. Stormwater management controls water flow quantity in order to help prevent flooding and water flow quality in order to protect the environment.
WHY IS THE TOWN IMPLEMENTING A STORMWATER CHARGE?
Newmarket is a growing community and there is more stormwater than ever before due to climate change. A stormwater charge will help fund Newmarket's stormwater management services and help address our three major challenges:
- Flood Protection
- Severe weather events that used to happen every forty years now happens every six. As a consequence, damage from storm events has recently become the biggest cause for insurance claims in Canada. This rate will help us adapt and protect homes and businesses in Newmarket from severe weather events.
- Environmental Protection
- As water runs off properties, it can carry contaminants with it. Runoff from urban and rural areas have upset Lake Simcoe's ecosystem. The Town is developing a comprehensive stormwater management master plan, as per the regulatory requirements outlined in the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, to restore waterways and breeding grounds.
- Stormwater Infrastructure
- The Town has 53 ponds, 55 kilometres of waterways and 225 kilometres of sewers that are maintained and replaced as they age. This user rate will provide a funding source that is reliable, predictable, and fair to ensure the service can continue to be effectively run in the future.
HOW WILL THE STORMWATER CHARGE BE CALCULATED?
The stormwater charge is based on the size of your property and the runoff level group. Runoff levels are divided into three groups: high, medium and low. Commercial and industrial properties are classified as high, residential properties are classified as medium and natural areas are classified as low. We use the following formula to calculate your stormwater charge.
Size of property x runoff group rate = stormwater charge
IF I CURRENTLY DON'T RECEIVE A PROPERTY TAX BILL, WILL I STILL BE CHARGED A STORMWATER CHARGE
Property owners that do not receive property tax bills such as hospitals, charities and places of worship will still be required to pay the stormwater charge. The stormwater charge is a user fee and not a tax. These property owners will begin to receive a property tax bill, which will reflect the stormwater charge in the 'special charges' section of the bill. These properties will still be 'tax exempt'.
WHY ISN’T THE STORMWATER CHARGE ON THE WATER BILL?
To ensure fairness, the Town believes that stormwater runoff from properties should be the responsibility of the homeowner. Not all homeowners live in their properties, as they may be landlords and most tenants pay a separate water bill from their rent. As a result, it would be unfair to pass the burden of stormwater runoff to tenants. Therefore the stormwater charge appears in the ‘special charges’ section of the property tax bill.
WHERE DOES THE STORMWATER CURRENTLY GO?
Stormwater from rain and snow melt naturally soaks into the ground in a process called infiltration. With Newmarket being an urbanized community with houses, roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces, these factors prevent water from infiltrating into the ground. The disruption to the water cycle means that stormwater runs off to other areas, such as ponds and watercourses, which can lead to flooding, and other environmentally damaging effects.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE STORMWATER CHARGE AND THE WATER AND WASTEWATER CHARGE?
The stormwater charge is a new user fee that will be used to fund Newmarket's Stormwater Management program. The water and wastewater charge is part of the Newmarket portion of your hydro bill. The water and wastewater charge is used to fund the maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure and separate from the storm drain infrastructure. Learn more about water and wastewater in Newmarket.
IS THERE A CREDIT PROGRAM FOR RESIDENTS?
There are currently no credits towards the stormwater charge for residential properties. However, the Town is offering a subsidized backyard tree-planting program for residents as a thank you for being environmentally conscious.
To extend our appreciation, the Town is partnering with a community organization, (LEAF) Local Enhancement and Appreciation and the Regional Municipality of York to offer highly subsidized backyard tree plantings to Newmarket residents.
Any Newmarket resident who would like a backyard tree can contact LEAF directly. The Town will cover an additional $100 towards the purchase prices of one tree per property through this already subsidized
Tree Planting Program.
CAN I APPEAL MY STORMWATER CHARGE?
If you feel there are inaccuracies during the process of calculating your stormwater charge due to the property size noted by your property assessment, please call MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporate) at Toll Free 1-866-296-MPAC (6722) to have the property size recalculated. Otherwise, please note that only properties that are exempt from user fees under legislation are eligible to appeal their stormwater charge. For more information, call the Town of Newmarket at 905-895-5193.