Storm Water Fund Not Receiving Backing

Source: 
The Capital; Annapolis, Md.

A possible resident tax has not found majority support in the Annapolis county council

Annapolis County, Md., is dealing with the same storm water, runoff and erosion control funding concerns as other counties nationwide. The county hopes to deal with the problem by developing a fund devoted to fixing damaged streams and tributaries—an $11 million per year plan that would charge homeowners $30 per year and tax businesses by a graduated system—but the fund needs just one more vote from council members to be implemented.

The council members’ concerns are that across-the-board fees for impervious surfaces are unfair to taxpayers.

Proposed changes to the plan will take into account an appeals process and technical elements of the fee.

Another suggested alteration came from County Executive John R. Leopold, who suggested a stormwater management and restoration of tributaries (SMART) fund. This type of fund would only charge new developments and raise about $5 million per year.

Homebuilders and the business community, who claim that new-building storm water controls are more complex and expensive than they have been in the past, have challenged the SMART fund idea. This fund, they claim, leaves them with an unfair financial burden. Other opponents of the plan were also concerned that it would not raise enough money.

Instead, the “all-payer” plan that will be proposed at a Dec. 3, 2007, meeting has so far been supported by environmentalists, the business community and homebuilders. If no changes are added to the bill, the council will vote on it as is. So far, that bill has not received a majority support vote from councilmen.

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