RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh homeowners may have noticed they are spending more money on their water bill.
In March, the city started collecting a $4 monthly
Now, Cary and other local towns are considering whether to add the charge.
During a storm, Simmons Branch Creek, located just outside the beltline, floods culverts and almost always overflows the road above, threatening several homes.
The culverts are too small and are filled with silt. Early next year, the city will spend $500,000 to clean up the area and install bigger culverts. The new stormwater fee will pay for it.
Neighbors say it is about time.
"It's a big problem. It's a big problem because we never know when we're going to get flooded out," said Bill Marshall, who lives next to the creek.
During most storms, Marshall watches as the creek spills over the banks and creeps close to his home.
"It's great for us, and my family and all of our neighbors right here," Marshall said.
Not everybody is excited about the fee. In fact, some say it is nothing more than a rain tax.
Raleigh City councilor Philip Isley voted against the fee.
"Our city has taken the slippery slope of feeing people to death and charging folks for things that really should be taken out of our general account," he said.
The city's stormwater manager says the $12 million the fee will raise every year is much needed.
"A lot of the dollars will go to capital projects up front. We've got a huge back log on our five-year capital program," said Danny Bowden, Raleigh stormwater manager.
There will be a lot of people watching Raleigh to see how this new program works.
Cary is putting together a plan that could include a stormwater fee. Its council will get the plan in November.