Stormwater Utility Fees
In 2015, Beaufort County adopted a revised Stormwater Utility (SWU) rate structure and fee increase. The Beaufort County service fee rate is based on impervious and gross area at an 80/20 allocation; stormwater service fee categories; any State agricultural exemptions or caps; an account administrative fee, countywide jurisdiction operation maintenance and jurisdictional operation, maintenance and capital project fee. The rates are set by the Beaufort County Stormwater Rate Study adopted August 24, 2015, by Beaufort County Council.
In 2019, the Town of Bluffton adopted the same rate structure as Beaufort County.
In 2020, the Town of Bluffton increased the Stormwater Utility rate structure and fee. The Stormwater Management Utility (SWU) provides funds for protecting the health of our valuable waters and reducing flooding due to storms in our community. View "Section VII – Stormwater Management Fees (PDF)".
Pending Tax Year 2020
For Tax Year 2020 the following Unit rates apply:
|Type of Fee||Beaufort County||City of Beaufort||Town of Port Royal||Town of Hilton Head Island||Town of Bluffton|
|Impervious Area Unit (IA)||$71.00||$95.00||$43.50||$105.00||$85.00|
|Gross Area Unit (GA) X =||$10.00||$35.00||$11.43||$21.00||$25.00|
Bill amounts for residential and non-residential accounts are determined by the same Impervious Area Stormwater Service Fee categories shown below.
Fees for Agricultural Use Exemption are calculated with the rate being 1/10th of the fee calculated. These fees historically ranged from $0.44 per acre to $4.74 per acre.
In addition, accounts within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Towns of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Port Royal, and the City of Beaufort will pay a County-wide Infrastructure Fee directly to Beaufort County. This will be shown as a separate line item on the tax bill. The following chart is the rates established for tax years 2019-2023.
Countywide Infrastructure (CWI) Cost Share
|City or Town||FY 2019-2020||FY 2020-2021||FY 2021-2022||FY 2022-2023||FY 2023-2024|
|City of Beaufort||$6.11||$6.28||$6.48||$6.68||$6.68|
|Town of Port Royal||$4.35||$4.48||$4.62||$4.76||$4.76|
|Town of Bluffton||$26.29||$27.02||$27.85||$28.72||$28.71|
|Town of Hilton Head Island||$6.73||$6.92||$7.14||$7.37||$7.37|
The gross area charge is calculated in equivalent units as follows:
|Number of Acres||Fee Calculation|
|First 2 acres||$X|
|For every acre above 2 acres and up to 10 acres||0.5 x $X|
|For every acre above 10 acres, and up to 100 acres||0.4 x $X|
|For every acre above 100 acres||0.3 x $X|
Gross area charge unit = (X)
Note: Law S453 (2009) does not allow any increase in fees for agricultural, forestlands and undeveloped lands that qualify for an Agricultural Use Exemption. This only applies to unincorporated Beaufort County and not the municipalities. Fees are based on the rate structure and unit costs in effect in 2009.
Impervious area stormwater service fee categories.
The appropriate categories for determining Single Family Units (SFUs) will be as follows:
|Type of Unit||SFU Calculation (SFUs equal)|
|Tier 1 Single-family Unit (≤2,521 square feet)||Dwelling units x 0.5|
|Tier 2 Single-family Unit (2,522 to 7,265 square feet)||Dwelling units x 1|
|Tier 3 Single-family Unit (≥7,266 square feet)||Dwelling units x 1.5|
|Mobile Home||Dwelling units x 0.36|
|Apartments||Dwelling units x 0.39|
|Townhouses||Dwelling units x 0.60|
|Condominiums||Dwelling units x 0.27|
|Commercial||Impervious area x 4,906 square feet*|
*Commercial billed at a rate of 1 SFU per 4,906 square feet or a portion thereof
Vacant Land under the old rate structure was charged various runoff rates based on parcel category and whether land is disturbed or undisturbed. Fees are based on an assumed 5% or 1% respectively of impervious cover per acre multiplied by the SFU rate for the parcel’s governing jurisdiction. The fees historically ranged from $5.55 per acre to $47.39 per acre*.
Fees for Agricultural Use Exemption are calculated similarly to vacant land with the rate being 1/10th of the fee calculated. These fees historically ranged from $0.44 per acre to $4.74 per acre*.
SWU Fee Credits and Adjustments
User fee adjustments may be made when a landowner can demonstrate to the SWU that it has incorrectly determined the amount of impervious surface.
User fee credits (partial rebates) are available for non-residential property owners who can demonstrate operation and maintenance of private stormwater management systems consistent with the SWU program resulting in cost savings to the SWU.
See Beaufort County Stormwater Adjustment and Credit Manual for more details.
SWU Fee Questions
For adjustments, credits, or questions regarding your SWU fee, please contact the Beaufort County Stormwater Utility Office via a County CitizenGram or by telephone at (843) 255-2804.
*Information is taken directly from Beaufort County’s Stormwater Fees Page