CORNELIUS – As the first year of stormwater rate restructuring nears an end, the second will bring yet another shift for Cornelius residents.
The change was initiated with town fees to Mecklenburg County expected to nearly double in the coming years. The second of three phases was approved unanimously by the town board May 2. In the first phase, the first two tiers saw decreases, but all four will increase this time.
The four tiers of town residential fees and one for commercial remain, with slightly higher costs starting in July. The rate hike is 2.1 1/100ths of a penny per square foot of impervious surface, providing $158,000 of new revenue, which will finance maintenance of stormwater pipes and ditches, leaf collection, equipment purchases and capital projects.
“That total number is $900,00 expected for stormwater so next year, if we go that route, the $158,000 would put us right at $900,000,” Assistant Town Manager Tyler Beardsley said.
The town receives $600,000 in stormwater fee revenue annually.
Tier I (less than 1,999 square feet)
11.7 percent of residential structures
Change: 35-cent increase
Tier II (2,000-2,900 square feet)
31.9 percent of residences
Change: 52-cent increase
Tier III (3,000-4,999 square feet)
37.4 percent of residences
Change: 77-cent increase
Tier IV (more than 5,000 square feet)
19 percent of residences
Change: $1.43 increase
Commercial billing is based on square footage of impervious surface. Mama’s Pizza, at 11,253 square feet, will have its rate increased from $10.24 monthly to $12.60. The United Community Bank in the former Aquesta Bank headquarters is 32,799 square feet, and will pay $6.89 more to $36.73 per month.
Next, the county will hold a public hearing on rate changes as part of the budget approval at the end of May.
Animal control agreement
The town’s interlocal agreement regarding animal control services with the county was renewed, and will automatically renew for four additional one-year periods.
The agreement at $240 per call for service allows the Animal Care & Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to provide animal control services within Cornelius town limits on an as-needed basis.
Cornelius Police Maj. David Baucom said his department is typically able to handle all calls in-house. The department has three animal control vehicles for two full-time employees and a part-timer on the weekends.
The cost was surprising to Commissioner Dave Gilroy.
“Are they gouging us?” he asked Baucom. “They don’t pay us much for the lake work.”
To which Baucom said CMPD has a flat rate for all towns, so ones without their own facility have to pay the fee for every incident.
“I hate to say it, but they’re more or less at their mercy,” he said, “but if they don’t have their own officers, they pay whatever Charlotte-Mecklenburg charges.”
Baucom said whenever the department loses a full-time employee, like longtime officer Kenny Russell, they will replace him.
“I’m always worried that Kenny thinks I’m pushing him out the door,” Baucom said. “Having Kenny here in town is absolute luxury.”