House Would Put State Property Under Stormwater Fees

The House has passed legislation that would subject some State properties to a State-mandated local stormwater management fee that is set to take effect on July 1 of this year.  MACo supported the bill with amendments adopted by the House.

Legislation passed in 2012 (HB 987) that required a county or municipality subject to a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit to adopt and implement a stormwater remediation fee.  The fee would provide financial assistance for the implementation of local stormwater management plans, including stormwater management practices and stream restoration projects.  A local government must reduce the fee for on-site or off-site stormwater mitigation performed by a property owner.  In practice, HB 987 affected ten counties:  Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s.

As amended by the House, House Bill 508 would require State properties not subject to a NPDES MS4 permit or an industrial stormwater permit to pay a local government stormwater fee required under HB 987 of 2012.  A State property subject to such a permit could still pay the fee if it is mutually agreed upon by both the State and the local government.  HB 508 also clarifies that any property subject to an industrial stormwater permit shall have its fee reduced if the property owner conducts on-site or off-site mitigation to reduce stormwater runoff required as part of a total maximum daily load under the permit.

From a March 22 Baltimore Sun blog article:

The exemption for state and local government properties was tacked on by the Senate last year as the storm-water fee bill moved toward passage in the final hours of the 90-day legislative session.  Proponents argued it made no sense to charge state or local governments, since they were already bound to reduce storm-water pollution under a bay restoration plan mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore city Democrat who heads the House Environmental Matters Committee, explained Thursday that the bill addresses a “growing concern that if private citizens have to pay these fees, if your constituents have to pay these fees, so should the state government.”

HB 508, which does not have a Senate cross-file, is set to be heard by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on April 2.

MACo Testimony on HB 508