Stormwater Utility

**UPDATES**

The City is currently in the process of evaluating and updating its stormwater utility structure. The stormwater utility is the revenue stream responsible for funding equipment like the street sweeper as well as managing and maintaining the public stormwater drainage system in addition to other state and federally mandated priorities. As the City grows and the infrastructure continues to age, a greater demand is being placed on the stormwater program. A rate study is underway to evaluate program needs, engage with customers, and set the utility up to be able to fund future capital improvements and investments in the stormwater system.

 

Who is billed for Stormwater?

All water and sewer customers within the City of Hendersonville's ETJ pay a flat rate stormwater utility fee of $3.00 a month. This includes commercial businesses, non-profit organizations, residents, churches, and anyone else who contributes to stormwater runoff in the City.


Hasn't the City always had stormwater infrastructure?

The City has installed and maintained stormwater infrastructure for a long time. However, federal regulations requiring a comprehensive stormwater quality management program necessitate that the City take a more active role in managing stormwater. The utility fee enables the City to meet its responsibilities to maintain and improve the stormwater drainage system, plan for capital improvement projects, manage water quality, enforce stormwater regulations, and facilitate public awareness.


How is the residential stormwater fee determined?

Currently the City charges all Residential and Non-Residential Water and Sewer customers that live within the City's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) a flat rate of $3.00 per month. This charge shows up on the monthly water and sewer bill.


I have a gravel driveway and no gutter drains that go to the street. Why do I have to pay for everyone else?

Gravel is an impervious surface. Like concrete or asphalt, it functions as a barrier to absorption and places a demand on the storm drainage infrastructure. This demand on the system is what the stormwater utility fee pays for. Anyone who uses city-maintained street benefits from a property functioning stormwater drainage system. Additionally, these users contribute to stormwater runoff issues in the form of pollution from cars, such as brake dust, gasoline and oil leaks, and stormwater runoff that is generated by the streets themselves.


Do I have to pay the stormwater fee if I have my own well and septic system?

Yes. The stormwater fee relates to the stormwater drainage system, which is completely separate from the water and sanitary sewer system. The stormwater utility fee helps fund the operation and maintenance of the City's stormwater management system as well as the Stormwater Program which benefit all of the residents of the City of Hendersonville.

Why does stormwater have to be managed?


Without proper stormwater management, rain events may result in flooding on roads and properties
throughout the City, leading to property damage and dangerous road conditions. Stormwater runoff
must be channeled through a system of pipes, ditches, catch basins, and storm drains before being
safely discharged into local streams and rivers. Note that even if a specific property has never flooded,
the stormwater that flows from the property still contributes to the overall flow and must be managed
so that it does not cause flooding or damage to property downstream.

Why is a Stormwater Utility necessary?


Many areas in our community are subject to chronic flooding which impacts our residents’ quality of life
and our businesses’ ability to operate without interruption. When severe flooding-related events occur,
they cause millions of dollars of damage to public and private property and require the use of City
resources that are needed for other purposes. The good news is that there are solutions to these
problems, and the impact of these events can be lessened or eliminated over time if the resources
necessary to address them are made available to the City.

Currently, the City does not have a revenue source to pay for the cost of maintaining and improving the stormwater management system.As t
stands, the City relies on a limited amount of Environmental Services and General fund revenue to pay
for stormwater maintenance projects. That means that less money is available to spend on the other
city projects, and no money is available to pay for stormwater improvement projects which, if
undertaken, would provide meaningful flooding, erosion, and drainage relief to our community. Under
the new funding approach, the City will rely on a monthly fee to pay for stormwater management
system projects. The fee will be calculated based on each property's impact on the stormwater system.
Shifting to a stormwater utility system is designed to:

  • Create a user fee system in which property owner’s pay for their portion of the stormwater
    system's expenses, since all properties benefit from the system.
  •  Provide a predictable and sustainable funding source to properly maintain the stormwater
    system.
  •  Increase awareness about the City’s stormwater management system. Many communities in the
    United States have opted for a stormwater utility to fund their stormwater programs.


Since every property generates runoff and benefits from the infrastructure in place, the utility model
represents a fair method of collecting revenue from those who place a demand on the stormwater
management system.


What will the money collected by the Stormwater Utility will be used to pay for?


The revenues generated by this utility fee is used to fund all stormwater related services, which includes the City's Stormwater Management Program, enforcement of the City's stormwater ordinances, planning for future impacts, stormwater infrastructure maintenance and repairs within City owned right-of-way, and construction of necessary capital improvement projects. The fee also pays for annual compliance requirements of City's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (NPDES MS4) permit. For example, the stormwater system, composed of catch basins, pipes, and various control measures, ensures that stormwater runoff from the entire City is managed properly to help reduce flooding, erosion, pollution, and property damage. The Stormwater Program is responsible for managing all aspects of the City's NPDES Phase II Stormwater Permit from Public Education and Outreach to Illicit Discharge Detection and Asset Inspection, Operation, and Maintenance.

Additional Questions

If you have more questions regarding the Stormwater Utility Fee or the Stormwater Program please contact Michael Huffman, the City's Stormwater Administrator, at 828-697-3013 or by email mhuffman@hvlnc.gov