Baltimore, Harford Counties Reconsider Stormwater Fee

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Baltimore County will consider legislation to reduce its State-mandated stormwater remediation fee (dubbed the “rain tax” by opponents).  A January 21 Baltimore Business Journal article reported that other counties may revisit or reconsider how the fee is applied or whether to designate alternative funding streams to meet their federal stormwater pollution reduction requirements.

From the article:

Harford County repealed its fee Tuesday night. Baltimore County leaders announced last week that they’re moving to sharply cut the fees levied on impervious surfaces at homes, businesses and nonprofits. And there have been rumblings about changes elsewhere, especially after Carroll County received state approval last year to use other funding sources to pay for stormwater remediation projects the fees are supposed to fund. …

“[Counties] have reassessed as they’re going through this process,” said Leslie Knapp Jr., legal and policy counsel for the Maryland Association of Counties. “These are all-new requirements. We are in unknown territory here.”

The article included reaction to the Baltimore County proposal from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

A leading conservation group isn’t necessarily against [Baltimore County’s] move.

“If they can get it done for less money, more power to them,” said William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The important thing is to get the job done.”

The article noted that in lieu of a local stormwater fee, Harford County intends to meet its stormwater pollution reduction requirements with money from its general fund.