If you live in the City of Wilmington, you may have noticed a new fee on your water bill — Stormwater — our local politicians’ way of taxing us for rainwater. By tying this charge to our water bill, the city can force us to pay it by threatening to shut off our water if we refuse to pay.
I questioned this new fee as soon as it appeared on our bill. No one could tell me what it was, what it would be used for, or the plan behind starting the new fee. I found out legislation was passed by council during the pandemic. It was passed on the advice of a consultant no one could name, with no investment in our town, and it was sold under the tagline that it was a mandate by the EPA.
EPA was established to ensure Americans have clean air, land and water, but like all government agencies, tends to push past the limits of their authority.
I have been told by numerous Wilmington officials that this money would be for the maintenance of existing sewage infrastructure, but isn’t that what our sewage bill is supposed to do? I have also been told that EPA requires we “separate Storm Water from Sewage Water,” but is that in our best interest?
Finally, I was told that this was an EPA mandate, but I have seen no such legislation.
The City of Wilmington intends to build a new sewage plant on Nelson Avenue. It will be labeled stormwater treatment, but they will not separate the sewage from the stormwater as they don’t have infrastructure to support that.
They have the opportunity to fund this through grants currently available, according to the governor’s office, but claim the need to sustain it by our additional dollars under a designated slush fund — rather than a designated use plan — that will allow the city a bucket of money where they can borrow funds for any number of insignificant projects.
This project, handled correctly, should have been put on the ballot, not railroaded by city council. There are properties in Wilmington that do not even have access to stormwater infrastructure, but those citizens are also being forced to pay “their fair share.” What is fair about paying for service you do not enjoy?
I hope many of you will speak up by contacting your city council members and express your own concern.
Joni & Steve Streber