Lake Mary residents to get stormwater fee hike

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LAKE MARY. Fla. —

The city of Lake Mary is increasing stormwater fees for the first time in 20 years.

City officials said that without the fee hike, the storm water fund could dry up.

The city has more than $500,000 set aside to fix storm drains, pipes and retention ponds, but WFTV has learned that officials are planning to spend most of that money next year.

Lake Mary resident Walt Schweickert said he pays enough as it is.

"That's not good," said Schweickert. "I just don't like the idea of increasing."

City leaders said residents' bills will not increase more than $15 a year. That will bring in an extra $100,000.

Officials said that they have a large number of projects around the downtown area, like pipe repairs, and those projects are draining the stormwater fund.

Another reason the city has less money, officials said, is because the schools are refusing to pay their stormwater fees.

School district officials said they don't have to pay the stormwater fees because they are a state agency, but WFTV's Tim Barber learned that the schools' fees would only bring the city about $7,000 a year.

Schweickert said because the city is not increasing fees too much, he's OK with it if the bump is a one-time deal.

"Let's put limits on that and go from there. But you have got to start somewhere," said Schweickert.

A city representative said the new fees will start in the next few months.