MONCKS CORNER -- Berkeley County's proposed stormwater fees are heading for more study after Monday night's council meeting.
Council gave the ordinance initial approval with no discussion. But several residents are challenging the need for the new charges.
The stormwater ordinance would apply to residents who live outside towns and cities. The fees would be $36 a year for houses, $18 for mobile homes and apartments, $72 for nonprofits and $108 for businesses and industries.
The fees will show up on tax bills in October if council approves the plan in time.
The ordinance requires votes at two more council meetings, and two public hearings also are planned.
During the time for public comments before the vote, George Metts of Moncks Corner said he didn't see the need for fees that would raise $1.4 million a year simply to sample water from creeks and rivers.
Before Monday's meeting, a half-dozen other residents met with County Engineer Frank Carson, his deputy engineer and Deputy Administrator and Finance Director Kace Smith to ask why the fees were necessary.
Carson said complying with the federal government's requirements to monitor rainwater runoff would cost the county $760,800 in fiscal year 2012 and $1.4 million the next year.
Linda Riney of Cross questioned that estimate.
"How can we be guaranteed what will happen when more money is collected than needed for the program?" she said after meeting with Carson.
The federal government requires a lot more than just taking water samples and filing reports, Smith said after Monday's meeting.
More than 100 pages of federal regulations also require the county to identify and correct the source of pollution, among other things, she said.
In other business Monday:
Everybody agreed the meetings should be filmed for broadcast on cable television. There was some concern over posting the videos on YouTube.
Putting the videos on the Internet would allow viewers to edit them, Finance Committee Chairman Jack Schurlknight said.
Votes at two more council meetings and a public hearing are expected before final approval to buy the cameras. Council also will continue to discuss how to broadcast the meetings.
"I think this resolution is well placed," said Council Vice Chairman Steve Davis, who proposed the resolution. "Mrs. Austin has been an awesome clerk."