Baltimore City Council Member Introduces Bill To Cut City’s Stormwater Fee

A September 21, 2015, Daily Record article reported that Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes has introduced legislation to reduce the stormwater remediation fee (also known as the “rain tax”) charged by the City by 50 percent.  Under the federally mandated Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and its separate Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, the City must enact costly stormwater mitigation and retrofit projects and the fee is designed to help address implementation costs. From the article:

“I am introducing this legislation for the countless residents whose bills continuously increase but their salaries remain the same,” Stokes, chairman of the Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee and a Democratic Party candidate for mayor, said in a news release. “When I speak with seniors throughout the city the first thing they say to me is: can you please do something about my extraordinary water bills? It is increasingly difficult to keep pace with the additional fees and only receive the same amount of money each month and no overtime.” …

If the bill passed it would go into effect on or after July 1, 2017. But the legislation still would have to be voted out of committee and passed by the City Council. Even if that were to happen the bill already faces a major obstacle. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake doesn’t feel there’s a need to change the remediation fees.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for the mayor, said the bottom line is if the fees are slashed the city would have to pay for that out of the general fund.

The article also discussed Stokes’ criticism of the City’s development incentives.