MACo Resists Bills Allowing Municipalities to Charge Counties Stormwater Remediation Fees

MACo Policy Analyst Natasha Mehu testified in opposition to SB 719, Environment – Stormwater Remediation Fees – Municipalities, before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on March 1, 2016, and MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp testified in opposition to HB 1108, Environment – Municipal Stormwater Charges – Property Subject to Charges, before the House Environment and Transportation Committee on March 2.

These bills would allow municipalities to unfairly charge counties for stormwater mitigation that counties are already responsible for and reopen a contentious issue that has previously been addressed by the General Assembly.

From the MACo HB 1108 testimony,

The core concept of the stormwater fees/charges enabled in Maryland is to address runoff issues created by property owners. These fees, in general, place this responsibility upon the facility owner – to either engage in on-site mitigation efforts, or pay a charge to offset the burden of the runoff created. HB 1108 runs afoul of this principle in an essential way – the county-owned properties that it would subject to municipal stormwater fees are already subject to federal and state mitigation requirements. The fee as the “compliance tool” is redundant at best, and a double burden on county properties at worst.

Counties are already subject to stormwater mitigation requirements under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and applicable local TMDLs. As MACo has previously stated, counties should not have to pay a fee for mitigation work for which they are already responsible. County-owned property is already subject to appropriate mitigation – by both federal requirements and state legislation (including last year’s refinement).

Furthermore, the General Assembly has already considered and essentially addressed the issue of one level of government charging another level of government a stormwater fee or charge.

Both SB 719 and HB 1108 would upend previous General Assembly decisions and doubly burden county governments who already have stormwater mitigation mandates and responsibilities.

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.