Brevard wants increase in storm water fees to help combat Indian River Lagoon issues



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard County homeowners could soon have to pay to help clean up the Indian River Lagoon, Channel 9 has learned.

The county wants to raise storm water fees from $36 to $64 per year, which works out to an extra $2.35 a month.

Over the years, Brevard resident Belden Ferguson sad he's seen the ecosystem fall apart.

"We used to come once a month, and it used to be plentiful to be honest with you," said Ferguson.

Part of the problem that is contributing to the downfall of the ecosystem is grass clippings, litter, fertilizers and pesticides delivered right into the water by storm water drains that desperately need the county's attention, officials said.

For the first time since 1991, leaders are proposing a $28 per year storm water fee hike for homeowners.

Officials told Channel 9 there are more than 800 drains that go into the lagoon and that only 11 percent of them are treated, leaving close to 90 percent unprotected and delivering pollutants into the troubled waterway.

The rate hike would generate up to $2.7 million more to outfit those untreated drains with filtering systems.

"The best way to put it is this is going to keep us in the game," said Ernie Brown of the Brevard Natural Resources Management Department.

Officials, however, said the storm drain updates is not enough to restore the lagoon and that it's going to take a lot more resources.

The proposal goes before the county commission for a public hearing on April 3.