Carroll to Work With Municipalities on Stormwater Costs

As reported by the Carroll County Times, Carroll County Commissioners have expressed a willingness to work with their municipalities to help cover some of the mandated costs associated with stormwater upgrades and retrofits.

An advisory committee created by the board looked into what the municipalities would have to spend to comply with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Phase II permit. The mandate requires the municipalities to perform stormwater projects in an effort to limit pollutants going into area aquifers.

The commissioners have set aside $20 million to cover stormwater projects over the next six years in the county, but municipal leaders are looking for ways to cover the estimated $16.4 million in municipal NPDES MS4 projects. The commissioners have suggested several ways to deal with the funding issue.

Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, R-District 2, said he’s in favor of earmarking $5 million out of the $20 million the county has set aside for stormwater projects specifically for the municipalities. As a former mayor of Hampstead, Shoemaker said he is very aware of town needs.

This article is part of a “Special Project” by the Carroll County Times, which has begun examining the costs associated with stormwater projects for Carroll County and its municipalities and how they plan to pay for them.  The first article in this series provides background and discusses the federal and State requirements to limit the amount of nutrients and sediments that can enter the Chesapeake Bay by “imposing a pollution diet and limits, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads.”  It also refers to the Stormwater Fee Advisory Group that was created by the Commissioners to recommend a stormwater management fee structure in response to legislation that passed in 2012 and why the group also developed a municipal stormwater cost estimate.

As part of the process of looking at fee structures, the municipalities expressed interest in finding out what fee structures were available if they needed to implement a tax to cover future NPDES MS4 Phase II permit requirements, Devilbiss said. The advisory group and county estimated that the municipalities would need to spend $16.4 million from Fiscal Year 2013 to 2018 to cover the future permit requirements.

The county’s cost estimate was based on plans from the MDE to include additional stormwater management regulations, like mitigating 20 percent of its total impervious area. The new requirements would be part of the new 2014 NPDES MS4 Phase II permit, according to the group’s report.