On December 16, 2019, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a Stormwater Services program to begin in July 2020. This program will help ensure the continued upkeep of the stormwater management system throughout the unincorporated areas of the county, and relieve property owners of the responsibility of maintaining and cleaning ditches and pipes on their property.
The new service fee will only apply to property owners in the unincorporated area of the county (see map below), and would not include the City of Wilmington or the county’s beach towns.
Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over the ground as the result of rain, snow, hail and sleet. Buildings, streets, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks and patios prevent the water from soaking into the ground. These structures are referred to as impervious surfaces.
As the runoff flows across the ground, it picks up pollutants and carries them into local waterways, and then into the ocean.
It is important to manage stormwater in order to reduce flood risks that may impact public safety and loss or damage of property; and prevent polluted stormwater from flowing directly into rivers and streams.
A stormwater service is a legal entity that can provide stormwater management activities including administrative functions, planning, engineering, regulation, permitting, maintenance operations, and capital improvements. The stormwater service (like other utilities – i.e., power and water) provides a method of generating revenue for these activities through user fees.
New Hanover County began exploring the process of implementing a stormwater services program in 2017 and on December 16, 2019 the Board of Commissioners approved the program, a fee structure, and additional staff needed to implement the program.
New Hanover County held stakeholder meetings on Tuesday, July 16 to get public input and feedback on a possible Stormwater Service. Meetings were held with large landholders and developers, non-profits and churches, commercial property owners, and the general public.
Additional community sessions will be held in early 2020 and will be announced publicly and on this website. The stormwater service program will go into effect in July 2020.
A nominal fee will support these services and only apply to property owners in the unincorporated areas of the county. Residential property owners will be charged a set fee of $5.65 a month (or $67.80 a year); and commercial properties, nonprofits, churches and any other non-residential properties will be charged a fee based on their impervious surface area.
Properties developed since September of 2000 that maintain stormwater control measures under a county permit will receive a 31 percent discount, since less maintenance from Stormwater Services will be required.
The Stormwater Services fee is not a tax, but it will be collected once a year through the county’s property tax bill (sent in August) and will be listed as a separate fee for property owners in the unincorporated area.