NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to create a Stormwater Services program to ensure the continued upkeep of the stormwater management system throughout the unincorporated areas of the county, and relieve property owners of the responsibility of maintaining and cleaning ditches and pipes on their property.
Stormwater Services will be part of the county’s Engineering Department and go into effect July 1, 2020. It will create a flexible way to plan and pay for more resilient water management practices, as well as allow the county to provide a higher level of service for residents.
“This is something we’ve been exploring since 2017, because proactively managing stormwater in the unincorporated areas of the county is an important and much-needed service for our community,” said New Hanover County Engineer Jim Iannucci. “When this service begins in July, the responsibility for stormwater maintenance will shift from residents to the county and we can implement a more strategic and comprehensive approach to stormwater management.”
A nominal fee will support these services and only apply to property owners in the unincorporated areas of the county. Residential property owners will be charged a set fee of $5.65 a month (or $67.80 a year); and commercial properties, nonprofits, churches and any other non-residential properties will be charged a fee based on their impervious surface area.
Properties developed since September of 2000 that maintain stormwater control measures under a county permit will receive a 31 percent discount, since less maintenance from Stormwater Services will be required.
The Stormwater Services fee is not a tax, but it will be collected once a year through the county’s property tax bill (sent in August) and will be listed as a separate fee for property owners in the unincorporated area. This fee will not apply to residents within the city limits of Wilmington or the county’s beach towns.
Beginning in July 2020, the county will begin implementing the service starting with required maintenance, an assessment of the current stormwater system and conveyances, and prioritizing maintenance for existing drainage easements. During this time, the county will also be managing the contracted work funded through $4 million in Emergency Watershed Protection funds to remove downed trees and sediment in watersheds as a result of Hurricane Florence.
Community meetings will be held in February 2020 (additional details to come), and these will offer property owners in the unincorporated county a chance to receive more information, ask questions, and learn about the fee structure for their specific property.
To learn more about the new Stormwater Services program visit Engineering.NHCgov.com.