Grovetown officials are considering how to establish and implement a new stormwater utility fee.
Within the next year, Grovetown residents might see a new stormwater fee on their water bills.
In 2009, the city hired Integrated Science and Engineering Inc. to help established the city’s stormwater management program as required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, the city operates the management plan, but it has not established it as a self-supporting system.
The city needs money to maintain the stormwater system that includes everything needed to collect, treat or dispose of storm, flood or surface drainage water, including detention ponds, drains, pipes, streams, culverts, wetlands, ditches and catch basins.
“Now, it’s getting to the point where we need some funding,” Public Works Director Michael Woods said, adding that the company made a presentation to city leaders at Monday’s city council meeting.
Woods said the issue of funding the stormwater system was initially put on hold, but was recently revisited as funding was needed to maintain the system.
“We got back with them, finalized the first phase of their contract to go back in and look at our city,” Woods said, “and come up with some scenarios of how to fund it. To help us get a budget together and what it would take to fund it.”
Woods said maintenance of the system is currently shouldered by the Water Department.
City officials are considering charging residents a flat rate of $4 or $5 per month, which would be added to water bills. Commercial properties would be billed differently, to make it fair, Woods said.
Columbia County officials established a Stormwater Utility in 2000 for a particular service area centered around the Martinez and Evans areas, said Water Utility Director Billy Clayton, who oversaw the program from the mid-2000s until recently. The department is self-supporting.
The county charges $0.0875 per 100 square feet of impervious surface including paved area and rooftops. The money collected as a stormwater fee can only be used for the stormwater system, including personnel, supplies, equipment and materials.
The city owns 20 to 30 detention ponds. Maintenance of those ponds, many of which are overgrown with trees, is regulated by EPD.
“One of the first things we’re wanting to do when (the funding) is in place is to hire an outside contractor to come in and clean all the retention ponds,” Woods said.
Grovetown officials could approve implementation of the fee as early as the Nov. 11 meeting.