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Spencer Board wants residents to be informed about stormwater ordinance

Spencer’s Board of Aldermen said during Tuesday’s meeting they want to make sure the public is educated about why a stormwater utility is needed for the town.

The Board set Jan. 13 as the date for the first public hearing on the town’s proposed stormwater utility ordinance, which, as of now, would be funded by an annual fee attached to property taxes.

How much the fee will be has not been set, but for planning purposes the town has been using the figure of $5 a month for a single-residential house.

Fees are based on the amount of “impervious surface area” — roofs, sidewalks, walkways, patios, driveway, parking lots, etc. — a land parcel has.

According to the town’s ordinance, individual single-family parcels with one home would be billed at a flat rate.

The city of Salisbury established a stormwater utility in 2012. Households in the city pay a flat rate of $4.25 per month.

If the land parcel contains something other than a single-family residential unit, the fee will be based on the amount of impervious surface area on the parcel.

Currently, work related to the town’s stormwater system is paid for through funds from the public works department. Establishing a stormwater utility would create a separate fund solely for the stormwater system. The money would be used for things like infrastructure improvements, cleaning the system and educating the public.

Stormwater systems handle rainfall that doesn’t soak into the soil. Drains in a street curb or in a parking lot are part of the system. Keeping the system clean and working properly is key because the water that runs through the system eventually ends up back in a river or lake and may become drinking water.

Alderman Scott Benfield said there’s no doubt Spencer’s stormwater infrastructure needs millions of dollars of work.

Reid Walters said the Board needs to figure out how best to educate the public about the ordinance. He said it’s important the community knows what the Board is doing and why.

If the ordinance is adopted, the stormwater utility is set to be part of the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget process.

Contact reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.



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