Beginning July 1, 2017, Henderson Water Utility will begin adding a $5.00 “Stormwater Fee” to water bills within the city limits of Henderson. Read our “Frequently Asked Questions”, below, to learn more about this new charge on your bill, and why it is necessary for us to do so.
- What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is any precipitation that falls from the sky, in the form of rain, sleet or snow.
- What is meant by the “Stormwater System”?
In Henderson, there are two stormwater systems. In older portions of town, the sewer system is “Combined”, meaning that surface water enters a sewer that also contains wastewater (sewage). In these areas, the stormwater system is considered to consist of the areas outside the sewer, such as gutters and ditches. In newer “Separate” areas, the stormwater system consists of all the gutters, inlets, storm drain piping, ditches and creeks. In Combined sewer areas, stormwater may be treated at the wastewater treatment plant, or in an intense rain, may overflow into Canoe Creek or the Ohio River. In Separate areas, the stormwater is not treated, but is conveyed directly to a larger body or water. Some older sections of town, like the Downtown, have had extensive projects performed, and now have a completely separate storm sewer system that discharges directly to the Ohio River.
- Why are we being charged for stormwater (rain)?
Henderson has approximately 70 miles of storm sewers, and we perform over $ 1.5 million in maintenance on that system every year. Several projects have been identified that will lessen the impact of local flooding, and these projects will be paid in part from the revenue generated by the stormwater fees.
- Will all properties have to pay the fee?
All properties within the City limits that are billed for water/sewer service will pay a fee based on meter size. While not perfect, meter size is being used as a proxy for stormwater impacts.
- Why do I have to pay if I live on high ground?
Every property contributes stormwater runoff that impacts existing water quantity and quality problems, and to the need to operate and maintain the storm sewer system. Driveways, parking areas and rooftops in every part of the City contribute to the amount of water that must be managed.
- Why do I have to pay if my subdivision is built-out, and has an adequate storm sewer system, already?
All properties in the City contribute stormwater to the system, so all should contribute to the costs of operating the system. A portion of the Utility’s revenues will be used to maintain and to make water quality improvements to the existing system, including the one in your neighborhood. As facilities age, they require a higher level of maintenance and eventual replacement.
- How can the City charge this tax without putting it to a vote?
The Stormwater Fee is not a tax, but a fee for service, like your water and wastewater utility bills. Citizens will benefit from the Stormwater fee through a better-maintained storm sewer system, increased control of local flooding and improved surface water quality.
- Is this fee a way for developers to avoid responsibility for managing stormwater?
No, all new development and re-development is required to follow existing city ordinances that require them to build, at their expense, storm sewer systems and stormwater detention facilities to manage the runoff generated by their developments.
- Does this mean the city will take care of the drainage in my yard?
No, HWU will take care of stormwater pipes within easements and rights of way. Property owners are responsible for mowing and general landscape care in easements, as well as other yard areas, including portions of the right of way that front on their property.
- How will this fee be billed?
The fee will be added to the monthly water and sewer utility bills as a separate line time.
- When will the fee collection start?
Bills issued after July 1, 2017 will include the stormwater charges.
- How much will I have to pay?
For a single-family residence with a common ¾” water meter, the stormwater fee will be $ 5 per month. Larger meters will be charged larger fees.