New Hanover County plans to use funding included in the latest coronavirus relief measure to cover part of the cost property owners in unincorporated areas pay for stormwater services.
A public meeting via Zoom is set for 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, for residents to ask questions and to learn more about the program and the fees. Join the Zoom meeting at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86204843544.
The Stormwater Services Program is to maintain the stormwater management system throughout the unincorporated areas of the county, create a more strategic and comprehensive approach to stormwater management and relieve property owners of the responsibility of maintaining and cleaning ditches and pipes on their property, according to the county.
Starting July 1, a single-family residential property will pay a flat rate fee of $1 per month, or $12, for the program. Commercial properties, nonprofits, churches and any other nonresidential properties will be charged a fee based on their impervious surface area. Visit Engineering.NHCgov.com/Drainage to see how that fee is calculated.
Next year, once funding is exhausted, the fee is expected to return to $5.65 per unit per month.
The county’s stormwater fee will be billed as a separate line item on New Hanover County tax bills in August for property owners in the unincorporated county, and will not be applied to properties that have not been developed.
The county’s stormwater services began in July 2020. During the first year of the program fees were not collected because of the financial impacts of COVID-19 on residents, businesses and organizations. About $4 million in funding was provided through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to remove debris caused by hurricanes Florence, Dorian, and Isaias to improve the flow of stormwater in area watersheds.
“We have been working over the past year to clear out debris and create better stormwater flow in several watersheds in the unincorporated areas of the county, and also assess the current stormwater system and conveyances,” said County Engineer Jim Iannucci in a statement. “Now we will start prioritizing maintenance for existing drainage easements where it is needed most. Residents may not see our teams right away clearing out their ditches – because that will take time. But what you will see is our crews focusing on the easements in highest need, and then working our way throughout the entire unincorporated areas.”