NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – To assist property owners in the unincorporated area of the county, New Hanover County will use American Rescue Plan funding to pay a portion of the county’s Stormwater Services costs this coming fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.
The county’s Stormwater Services began in July 2020, and during the first year of the program fees were not collected because of the financial impacts of COVID-19 on residents, businesses, and organizations. Instead, around $4 million in funding provided through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program was utilized to remove debris caused by hurricanes Florence, Dorian, and Isaias to improve the flow of stormwater in local watersheds.
This coming fiscal year, using American Rescue Plan funding, the program’s fees will be at a rate of $1 per Equivalent Rate Unit (ERU) per month. Next year, once this funding is exhausted, the fee is expected to return to $5.65 per ERU a month.
This means that a single-family residential property will pay a flat rate fee of $1 per month – or $12 per year – for the program this year. Commercial properties, nonprofits, churches and any other non-residential properties will be charged a fee based on their impervious surface area using the $1 ERU per month rate (see how that fee is calculated at Engineering.NHCgov.com/Drainage).
“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. “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.”
The Stormwater Services Program will help ensure the continued upkeep of 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.
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.
Information about how non-residential property fees are calculated, discounts available to property owners, and more can be found at Engineering.NHCgov.com/Drainage.
The county will hold a drop-in online public meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, June 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for residents to ask questions, learn more about the program and the fees. This meeting will be particularly helpful for businesses and non-profits because staff will be able to look up a property and help those entities calculate the fee based on the impervious surface they have.
Join the Zoom meeting on June 23 at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86204843544.
Below is a video message from the County’s Engineer Jim Iannucci, providing an overview of the program: