Following weeks of public lead-up, and amidst a medium-sized group of environmental advocates, the Baltimore Council followed through on its plans to eliminate the county’s stormwater fee with a unanimous vote Monday evening. The veto-proof margin likely resolves the issue, and will phase out the fee completely beginning July 2017.
From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:
The council voted to reduce the stormwater fees attached to 2016 property tax bills and eliminate them in 2017. Council members have said the fee is a burden on homeowners and businesses.
In a letter to county officials earlier this month, the [Chesapeake bay Foundation] said state law requires the county to first send a plan to the Maryland Department of the Environment, describing how it would pay for projects to reduce polluted runoff, “so we know [the money is] allocated and they can actually do the work,” said Elaine Lutz, staff attorney for the foundation.
Environment Secretary Benjamin H. Grumbles said his staff is reviewing the foundation’s concerns.
“We look forward to working with Baltimore County and its citizens for real progress in improving water quality and restoring the Chesapeake Bay,” Grumbles said.
Fox 45 News covered the group assembled to object to the pending decision:
Many are cheering the decision, but close to 100 people rallied against the vote beforehand. Those against the decision held signs at the council meeting that read “Show me the money.” They say they weren’t necessarily opposed to the tax going away, as much as they didn’t want the vote made before a plan was in place for future funding.