TEGA CAY, S.C. -- Pay up or we'll see you in court. That's what the city of Tega Cay is telling neighbors who aren't paying storm water service fees.

Some neighbors say the city is using the fee to generate money because it didn t have the fee a few years ago. But city officials say state mandates require Tega Cay to come up with its own storm water system and the fee is part that requirement.

So far, the city has sent 200 summonses to neighbors who haven t paid and 115 have been resolved, according to Operations Director Charlie Funderburk.

Ray Reeser says he won t pay unless a judge forces him to do so. The summons says he needs to pay his annual $96 storm water fee, and the paperwork also shows a $7.20 late fee. Reeser says he has to pay $120 in court costs as well.

I feel like it's a homeowner's fee and I moved into Tega Cay six years ago and we didn't have homeowner's fees here, Reeser said. Tega Cay has no storm water. It all goes into Lake Wylie. It's just another revenue source for Tega Cay. I would like a jury trial.

Funderburk, though, says not all rain drains directly into Lake Wylie

We are trying to protect the water quality coming off impervious surfaces like sidewalks, streets and parking lots.

There's 70,000 feet of storm water infrastructure, including 2,000 feet under city streets. In 2006, the state mandated Tega Cay to come up with storm water services to comply with clean water regulations.
The city approved a fee in 2008.

If people don't pay, it affects upgrades and repairs.

It makes it very difficult. We have to start scaling back our operations, projects we had planned on. We have to prioritize more which ones we're going to start and which ones we're going to hold off on, Funderburk said.

Right now, the unpaid bills are taking just over $8,000 out of the city's pocket.

The city says one reason why people get so upset is because the bill is once yearly for $96. They could have broken it down to $8 a month but decided against that to save on postage.

Reeser has not received his court date yet and says he will represent himself.

Funderburk says taking neighbors to court is costing the city money, but it will get the money back from court fees.

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