Summerville Town Council decides to not raise monthly stormwater fee

Local News

A monthly fee on Summerville water bills that was set to increase will now remain unchanged.

In August, Summerville Town Council voted to intend to increase the monthly stormwater fee from $4 per month to $6 per month. It generates about $1.1 million per year and funds the town’s stormwater department which maintains ditches, canals and drains. But much of the drainage infrastructure needs to be improved throughout the town.

“We’re getting to the point where we need to do a lot more work than we’re able to do with the resources we have,” said Russ Cornette, Summerville Town Engineer & Director of Public Works. “So increasing the fee would have allowed us to hire more employees to conduct some of that work and be more proactive than reactive,”

But last week, town council members voted against raising the fee and instead passed an ordinance that will change the way the fee is charged on commercial and multi-family properties. The fee will be calculated based on how much of the property is made up of impervious surfaces which cause runoff and add more volume to drainage systems.

“It’s a more equitable way of charging those properties what they’re actually contributing to the system,” said Cornette.

He also said that even though the stormwater fee is not being increased, the new ordinance is still expected to increase revenues for the department.

Councilwoman Christine Czarnik made the motion to adopt the new formula and said in an e-mail that she wants to see what kind of revenue will be generated before council considers raising the fee across the board.

The new formula will go into effect on Jan 1.

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