Council reviews list of $16.6M in stormwater capital improvements

Posted November 14, 2013 7:57 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

In many neighborhoods across the country and in Rock Hill, a heavy rainstorm or popup rain shower leaves behind little effect, aside from a wet lawn, car and home.

But for some neighborhoods — the threat of rain brings images of flooded yards, streets and in some cases, homes.

Rock Hill City Council took its first step Thursday in seeking a fix to those issues, which can leave behind puddles of mosquito-friendly standing water or flow in the front door of a low-lying home.

The city’s Public Works department released a list of 24 high-priority capital projects totaling between $12.1 and $16.6 million, from Hagins Street to Charlotte Avenue, and Constitution Blvd to Hollis Lakes Road.

“There will always be events that we could not build infrastructure to support, but for the majority of the average rainfall storms, we should be able to start addressing some of those issues.

The top priority on the list — Hagins Street at Friendship Drive, calls for $530,000 in improvements that would potentially affect seven structures. Neighbors there complain of frequent yard flooding.

Nearby on Charlotte Avenue, similar complaints have yielded a $244,000 fix that includes a total of four structures on the project site.

Design work on the first four projects, Carlisle said, is already underway.

“We have the money in reserves … they are already going through permitting and design as we speak,” Carlisle said.

Another seven projects are already in progress, totaling $1.4 million using yearly operating funds.

Rock Hill City Council will consider the capital projects next year as part of the budgeting process. Pending council’s direction some projects may be tackled head-on, while others may be deferred. A stormwater rate increase is also possible.

Rock Hill’s residential stormwater rate at $2.88 a month ranks tenth among 28 South Carolina cities, while the commercial stormwater rate ranks 12th.

A 20 percent increase in the residential rate would generate an additional $181,224, while a 30 percent rate hike would generate an additional $271,836. Commercial rate hikes, if enacted, would be based on the size of a property’s impervious areas, like parking lots, roofs, and concrete.

“You’re never going to eliminate downtime and [water main] breaks, but our staff does a great job at monitoring that and keeping track of it…the city is very fortunate,” Carlisle said.