CLEVELAND -- About 350,000 property owners and customers in and around Cleveland will soon get another bill.
The NE Ohio Regional Sewer District will begin sending the new bill in January.
The fee is separate from any normal sewer fees and is called a “Stormwater Management Fee.”
The amount will vary based on property size but the average homeowner will pay approximately an extra $60 per year.
The Sewer District says the money is urgently needed to repair the sewer and storm systems which are interconnected and over taxed.
“It’s a big problem. It’s a huge problem,” said Frank Greenland, Director of Watershed Programs for the NE Ohio Regional Sewer District.
The systems were built in the 1700s when the city was much smaller and suburbs didn’t exist.
Now the area has grown exponentially and the aging systems can’t handle both the growth and severe storms.
Mr. Greenland says there is much more concrete and paving where you used to have grassy fields which would absorb rain.
“We’ve laid hard surfaces where grass used to be so when it rains instead of soaking the ground it runs off these hard surfaces faster and greater quantities,” said Mr. Greenland.
As a result, in recent years a record number of roads, homes and businesses have flooded and streams and rivers are causing severe erosion impacting both streets and bridges.
The NE Ohio Regional Sewer District says if something isn’t done soon the area could face catastrophic problems.
They say a $60 fee is much cheaper than severe flooding.
“We’re paying for the problems today and if we don’t start fixing problems they’re going to get larger and more expensive,” said Mr. Greenland.
Many homeowners hate the thought of another bill but others understand it.
Jenny Oakley said, “It’s time we do something about the sewers. We have raw sewage running into the lake and streams and 60 dollars to me is a small price to pay to fix that.”
Special credit programs will be available for people who can’t afford the fee.
And a series of meetings are planned to get public feedback on the matter:
- Dates: Second Monday of each month beginning December 10
- Additional dates include January 14, February 11, March 11 and April 8
- Start time: 6:00 p.m.
- Location: NEORSD’s George J. McMonagle Administration Building
- 3900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
- Parking lot entrance off East 40th Street
At these informal workshops, residents and business owners will learn more about this regional program.
In addition, “Sewer District representatives will help customers complete credit applications and explain how impervious area is measured and how fees are calculated using these impervious measurements.”
Fee amounts will vary based on property size but people can see exactly how much they will owe right now by visiting this website.