New stormwater utility, fee, may be on its way to Fort Mill

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comApril 29, 2014 

— A new stormwater utility, and accompanying fee, likely is coming to Fort Mill.

At its April 28 meeting, Fort Mill Town Council unanimously passed first reading on an ordinance creating a stormwater management utility. It would fund and maintain stormwater projects and oversee sediment control, flood management, land disturbance and enforcement if stormwater violations occur.

Details on the new utility should begin to trickle in this summer, including what fee will be imposed to fund it.

“We haven’t set it yet,” said Paul Mitchell, town engineering director.

Councilwoman Guynn Savage, chairwoman the town’s Water and Sewer Committee, said she wants residents to know the new cost isn’t something the town looked to create.

“The stormwater project is a required project of Fort Mill,” she said. “It is not something we’re taking on at will.”

Municipalities in South Carolina must have stormwater permits, depending on size. Fort Mill received its first permit in 2007. A new plan, with new and more extensive requirements, is required by June 1.

“Up to this point we’ve been able to fund it through the general fund,” Mitchell said.

User fees would pay for new construction and ongoing retention pond inspection, maintenance for existing stormwater structures, stream monitoring and reporting, assessment plans and reporting. A new monitoring and assessment plan comes due a year after the new permit, and at least two years of stream monitoring must begin within 18 months.

Fees would be based on the number of structures or amount of impervious surface on properties. The ordinance states a public hearing will be held May 12.

Also at its most recent meeting, Council gave first reading to an ordinance putting responsibility for sewer connection on builders or homeowners. All expenses, including tap fees, would go to the builder or homeowner when a sewer line sits within 100 feet of the building. Town employees would still perform inspections.

The town won’t make new connections or install new lines to homes, but can approve special drainage basins or new lines to enhance development in unserved areas. A special fee will be developed for such instances.

Another Council approval could help start the water flowing to more than 1,000 new residences. Developers behind Waterside on the Catawba, a recently annexed plot of properties set for 1,300 new residential units, want to pay for and put in a 12-inch water main on 6,800 feet from Banks Road to Whites Road. The developer agrees to pay $25,000 for a new impeller at a lift station serving the area.

In return, the town will remove a requirement for the developer to run a new water line along 5,500 feet from Whites to Doby’s Bridge Road.

Town Manager Dennis Pieper said language could be worked into the agreement to cover at least the full cost of the impeller should it increase between now and when the town needs to purchase it.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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