There are several differences between a fee and a tax.
User equity – Fees are more proportional and give users more control over the amount charged. With fees, larger users pay more, and smaller users pay less. Users can also reduce the amount of the fee by taking steps to manage runoff. Property retaining 100% of their runoff can qualify for a 100% reduction in their fee. Also, properties, that drain 100% to a river or are 100% vacant may also qualify for a reduction in fee.
Dedicated funding – Fee revenue is segregated meaning the funds can only be used for the specific purpose for which they are collected. For example, stormwater fees can only be used for stormwater related costs. In contrast, tax revenues are available for almost any use, and competition for tax dollars have historically resulted in little, if any, funding for stormwater-related items.
Tax exempt property – Many properties in Moline such as property owned by the City, County, School District, Black Hawk College, and churches are granted tax exempt status. Many of these tax exempt properties have large amounts of impervious area. Assessing a Utility Fee on tax exempt properties ensures that all properties are assessed fairly based on their amount of runoff and does not create a system where the taxable properties subsidize the non-taxable properties.