Is a new utility bill — a storm sewer fee — coming to Sunbury?
Maybe not soon, but during a discussion during a July 15 meeting of the Sunbury village finance committee, the cost of maintaining the village’s aging storm sewers was discussed.
The issue of storm sewers surfaces when aging storm sewers deteriorate to the point that costly repairs are required, like the storm sewer that runs from the businesses behind Vernon Street, underneath Sunbury Village Square, under Evening Street and dumps into Prairie Run Creek.
That sewer recently needed to be located, then a camera was used to find blockages, and repairs and cleaning were required. Each of those steps are costly.
During the meeting, Mayor Tommy Hatfield asked village fiscal officer Kathy Belcher if a storm sewer capital fund could be built into the village’s wastewater fund. Belcher said storm sewer repairs are billed to the village’s streets fund.
“There are things we need to look at replacing in the old parts of town, like the maintenance repair of the storm water system,” Hatfield said. “It’s an important piece of our infrastructure. Then we have an extraordinary situation like the rain we’ve had a lot of the last month, and you can’t use wastewater fund money for storm sewers.”
Hatfield said the city of Delaware has a separate storm sewer bill. Sunbury’s consulting engineer, Wes Hall, said many municipalities have storm water assessment fees.
“A storm water assessment fee might run $2 to $5 a month,” Hall said. “A large company like American Showa is equated to the number of rooftops of runoff.”
Belcher said that while sanitary sewer and wastewater funds could not be mixed together, a storm sewer assessment fee could be added as a separate charge on the village sewer bill.
Hatfield said the maintenance and repair of the village’s storm water system is something he has included in a five-year plan.
“We’re not going to do it right away, but we have to start figuring out how to fix the system,” he said. “Some lines in the old part of the village are 100 years old.”