Lenoir city businesses, residents to see new fee on utility bill

LENOIR CITY (WATE) – People living or running a business in Lenoir City will see a new fee on their Lenoir CIty Utilities Board bill in August.

Lenoir City Administrator Amber Scott says the charge is not a rain tax, but a storm water utility fee.

“This is part of the clean water act,” said Scott. “As a government, we are required to and charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the water that comes from building runoff and parking lots and is discharged into our storm system, is clean.”

The city is implementing the fee to fund the new storm water utility department.

“For many years we have been funding this without having a tax increase and we have come to a point where we need to do more in this area and it’s going to require more funds to do it,” said Scott.

Residents will see an added $3 charge to their bill. Fees on businesses will be determined by a square footage tier system based on how large the roof and parking lot is.

“The bigger your roof, the bigger your parking area, the more run off into the system,” said Scott. “I mean it’s really a user fee.”

The fees will only go towards costs in the department such as the storm water utility worker wages, the storm water manager’s salary and the paper used in his office. These items were previously funded through other departments.”

“We have police cars on the road that are probably 15 years old,” said Scott. “That’s old for a police car. We haven’t been able to buy a fire truck. My point is we have been having to cut short on other departments.”

Erica Rivera says had no idea she would have a new fee on her bill next month.

“I do understand where they are coming from,” said Rivera and I agree. I think they should have at least given us a notice and not just show up on our bill.”

Ninety-five percent of business fees are under $100 a month with the highest being $2,000.

Scott says a separated special fund for storm water maintenance will allow the city to carry funds from one year to the next in order to plan for upgrades to aging storm water infrastructure.  She says this would be a part of a capital improvements plan for storm water

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