Granville County, the Town of Butner, the City of Creedmoor, and the Town of Stem have each created independent stormwater utilities and have opted to share and trade some services in order to reduce costs wherever possible. For example, all jurisdictions share one stormwater services manager to oversee the utilities, provide expert judgment and guidance, and promote their collective interests in regulatory discussions related to stormwater. Additionally, Granville County provides the billing services for each utility (similar to how the county does tax billing).
In June 2012, Granville County adopted the first component of the state-mandated Falls Lake Rules, the new development regulations which are intended to improve water quality in Falls Lake. If the County had not complied with these state laws, it could have been subject to civil and criminal penalties of up to $25,000 per day and a moratorium on all new development in the Falls Lake Watershed. The EPA and State have identified Falls Lake as being an impaired water body (Clean Water Act Section 303(d) list) due to nutrients being deposited by runoff. This runoff comes from the Falls Lake Watershed, in which much of Granville County is located. The rules affect new and existing development, agricultural, sewer, and septic treatment and discharge throughout the watershed, and the cost of complying with the rules is projected to be higher than the County currently allocates to stormwater-related services.
There are only two ways to pay for these rising stormwater costs: a tax increase or a fee. The fairest way is to assess a fee that takes into account property features that contribute to stormwater run-off and pollution. All properties (even tax-exempt and government-owned) are subject to the fee. Collection of this fee will help fund existing and additional stormwater services to ensure compliance with the Falls Lake Rules. In all of unincorporated Granville County these include the Upper Neuse River Basin Association (UNRBA) dues, Soil & Water Conservation District staff and activities, Cooperative Extension staff, and floodplain development review activities. Within the Falls Lake Watershed, Stage 1 existing development inventory & reporting, Falls Lake monitoring for an independent review of water quality, on-site wastewater (septic) system inventory and inspections, and assistance to property owners with failing systems to protect surface water quality programs currently exist.
Rates are different for each jurisdiction’s utility. Within Granville County, there are two sets of rates based on whether a property is within or outside of the watershed, which is reflected in the services provided to that region. Aside from location, rates are based on two factors:
(1) The most important is the amount of impervious area, such as driveways and rooftops, on the parcel. For single family residential parcels, impervious area is not calculated directly; rather the average amount of 4,300 square feet is assumed.
(2) The other factor is the gross area of land on a parcel.
This rate structure was designed to take into account the mixed land use throughout Granville County and the other jurisdictions.
Listed below are links to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources Falls Lake Rules page, stormwater rate tables for unincorporated Granville County properties, both within and outside the Falls Lake Watershed, as well as links for Butner, Creedmoor, and Stem rate tables.