Horry County Council approved a $15 increase in the stormwater fee at its Tuesday council meeting. The increase will bring in an additional $2.4 million in revenue to the stormwater fund, according to staff presentations.
The charge will increase to $44.40 for a single-family home and will be larger for commercial properties. The stormwater fee is collected only in the unincorporated areas of the county.
This money is intended to help increase drainage after heavy rains and prevent potentially dangerous floods, something many citizens have called for in the past.
The fee increase came as a staff recommended an amendment to 2019 fiscal budget. The budget underwent its third and final reading at the Tuesday council meeting.
When Council member Danny Hardee asked what the county staff recommended, Stormwater Manager Tom Garigen said he believes the $15 increase would be sufficient to help improve services to the county.
The money will be used to increase staff by six members with the required equipment for them to do their jobs. It will also allow for funds to work on capital improvements addressing problem areas in the county.
"We need to keep working on our improvement projects, not just maintenance," Garigen said.
The increase was approved in a 7-5 vote to make sure there is adequate funding to not only maintain current operations, but to also allow the staff to perform proactive work to decrease issues.
The vote also includes a new late fee for not paying the charge.
Currently, Horry County has the lowest stormwater fee in the state and possibly the entire southeastern region. It was discussed to increase the fee by only $10, but it was decided that was too little to address the stormwater and drainage issues the county faces.