When Crothersville property owners receive their utility bills in November, they will notice a $3 increase.
The town council recently approved charging that amount for the monthly stormwater user fee. Once calculations are finalized, the fee will increase for businesses and industries based on square footage.
The money will go into a stormwater utility fund to make storm drainage improvements in the small southeastern Jackson County community. That would include new culverts, stormwater piping and separation of wastewater and storm drainage conveyance piping in efforts to reduce standing water and flooding issues. The ongoing fund also would help make repairs at the sewer plant.
Council President Lenvel “Butch” Robinson said the town has never had a stormwater utility fund, but several area communities do including Seymour.
He said some residents or business owners may get upset about the increase, but it will allow the town to have funds to alleviate flooding issues.
“Some of them will understand that it’s a good thing for the town because we will have the money to replace your culvert pipe or dig your ditch out or whatever, whereas today, we don’t have it,” he said. “That’s what this is all about, to help the town. It’s not because we like to charge every citizen another $3 to live here by no means.”
Clerk-Treasurer Terry Richey said she recently talked to officials with Keystone, which provides the town hall’s accounting software, and learned the user fees could be implemented for the October bills that go out Nov. 1.
The company would charge a one-time $900 setup fee to add the user fees to the existing program. From next year on, a smaller amount would be included on maintenance the town pays for the software program.
The town council agreed to start charging the stormwater user fee in November because the sooner the town could start generating money, the better.
With around 700 units billed in the town, that would result in more than $2,000 in the first month to put into the stormwater utility fund.
Robinson said he already has people asking him how soon they can get their culverts fixed.
Once the town gets money built up, street and sewer employees will first focus on fixing culverts and ditches in problem areas of the town.
“If the sun doesn’t shine, it doesn’t go away,” Robinson said of flooding after heavy rain events. “In the wintertime, it’s just wet everywhere all of the time, it seems like.”