Surfside Beach stormwater fee could fund more than $3 million in drainage projects

Grand Strand

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The town is moving forward with a plan that leaders say will pay for more than $3 million in needed drainage projects.

A coastal town like Surfside is no stranger to flooding.

“I don’t think there’s anything around here that’ll get more complaints than the flooding,” said Mayor Bob Childs. “After a big rain, I had a lady call me the other day. She was crying because her lot was flooded.”

That’s why Surfside leaders proposed an $82 per year stormwater utility fee for homeowners. Businesses would also be charged based on property and building sizes.

Public works director John Adair says Surfside could collect at least $400,000 annually from the fee.

“Without a funding source, it can’t be done,” Adair said. “Swashes, bulkheads and culverts, things like that.”

The fee would fund several drainage projects worth an estimated $3,450,000. Surfside’s north end alone would get $2 million.

Here’s a list of the capital improvement projects mentioned at Tuesday’s town council meeting:

  1. Phase II North Side Drainage Project – $1,000,000
  2. Phase III North Side Drainage Project – $1,000,000
  3. Dogwood Swash – Replace Ocean Boulevard Culvert Bridge – $700,000
  4. Melody Basin – Eliminate Discharge into Garden City – $400
  5. Floral Swash – Replace Bulkheads – $350,000

The town stopped pursuing a fee in 2017, but soon, flooding became too big to ignore.

“Subsequent to the record rainfall we had in 2018, last year, council redirected staff to proceed with the project,” said Adair.

A stormwater management program would also be created to make sure Surfside meets national water runoff standards.

Most town council members say the fee is necessary to fight drainage issues, especially in the north end.

“I don’t like fees,” said council member Mark Johnson. “I don’t like higher taxes, but we need to do something because we have issues.”

Town council passed first reading of the stormwater utility fee ordinance at Tuesday night’s meeting. If it passes one more time, the fee will be added to next year’s Horry County property tax bills.

Surfside will hold a public hearing about the fee on May 14.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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