Perry Adds Stormwater Fee to Utility Bills

6:31 AM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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Residents in the city of Perry will see an additional two dollar fee on their next utility bill.  

That's because Perry City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday night that will bring a new Stormwater Utility District to the city, and the new fee is how they're going to pay for it.

Not having a budget specifically for maintaining stormwater drains is a problem Mayor Jimmy Faircloth says the city has been dealing with for years.  

"Every time we do pull the money from something to pay for that, something else goes without." 

He says some neighborhoods in the city face flooding and erosion because the drains aren't up to par. In past meetings, council has discussed raising property taxes to pay for the new district, but they decided against the hike.

"We are not interested in increasing property taxes, period. We know that they're high and we're doing everything we can to operate within our means," Faircloth explains.

The two dollar fee is the city's way of avoiding a property tax hike, passing the cost off on utility bills instead.

"I know that a fee is a tax and I understand that. We're not trying to dodge concerning definitions but we just don't have any choice," Faircloth says.

The fee applies to commercial properties too, but it could increase. 

City manager Lee Gilmour said the administration will use a formula to charge commercial properties.

"We'll hire a consulting engineering firm to go in and provide advice and technical assistance so that we can reach the correct combination of credits versus charges."

The city will also continue applying for grants to offset some of the new district's cost.

The new fee will be implemented November 1 and Gilmour says he hopes to have the new formula in place in three months.

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