Grovetown city officials met Monday to coordinate how the city will establish its stormwater utility.
At the work session after the semi-monthly council meeting, officials discussed how to set up the state-mandated stormwater utility and how fees to support the program would be assessed and billed.
"It is mandated by the state, so we've got to do it," Mayor George James said. "The fees are going to cover the cost of however we go about it. We just need to figure out how we're going to do it."
The fee would be similar to the one Columbia County officials implemented in 1999.
The funds will pay for personnel, equipment and supplies to maintain the city's stormwater management system.
The system is growing as new developments are completed and new systems, along with other utilities and streets, are taken over by the city, said Councilman Robert Newman.
The system 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.
Of the 53 detention ponds in Grovetown, the city owns fewer than 20. Nearly half of the city-owned ponds are overgrown and need to be cleaned.
City officials decided to abandon the idea of a flat fee and mirror the county's stormwater utility ordinance.
The fee will be based on a property owner's amount of impervious surfaces, which include roofs, driveways and other areas where rainfall runs off as opposed to soaking into the ground.
Columbia County charges $0.0875 per 100 square feet of impervious surface. City officials did not decide on their rate.
The bills will be sent annually and most residents will owe $20-$40.
"Initially, it might be a guessing game," city attorney Brendan Fleming said. "And if it doesn't cover, you might have to adjust. And if you are taking in too much revenue, you might have to roll it back. But I think the first time is going to be ... a guess."
Bills will go to property owners. All the property information, including owners' names and amount of impervious surfaces, will be obtained from the county Tax Assessor's Office.
The ordinance will go before city council for a vote after several public meetings are held and the ordinance's two required readings are advertised.
City Clerk Vicky Capetillo said once the ordinance is approved, bills for 2009 will be mailed. Beginning in 2010, the bills will be mailed at the end of January.
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