Anne Arundel County Considers Stormwater Utility Fee

A November 9 Capital article discusses legislation being considered by the Anne Arundel County Council to institute a countywide stormwater utility fee.  A similar proposal was considered by the Council in 2007 but did not pass.  However, with the county facing nearly $2 billion in costs to meet its requirements under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), there is additional pressure to consider funding sources for water quality improvement projects, including stormwater.  Faced with the same pressure, the State is currently considering an increase to the Bay Restoration Fee.

The article also discusses reactions from the county executive’s office, as well the Home Builders Association of Maryland and local chamber of commerce.  A public hearing on the bill is set for December 5.

Four years after the County Council rejected a similar bill, Councilman Chris Trumbauer, D-Annapolis, has introduced legislation to add new fees to homeowners’ annual property tax bills.

The bill proposes a $35 annual fee on single-family residential properties and $25 on townhouses and condominiums. Fees for commercial properties would be based on the amount of paved service the development covers.

The fees, which Trumbauer estimates could raise between $12 million and $15 million annually, would be used to reduce stormwater pollution. The bill, co-sponsored by council chairman Dick Ladd, R-Severna Park, would require the county Department of Public Works to issue an annual report that would break down how the money was spent.

While Trumbauer acknowledged that residents can be skeptical of new fees, he said “people are willing to change their behavior if they know it’s going to work.”

And the longer the county waits to take action, the more it will cost to clean up area waterways, he said.

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