Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hancock Doesn't Want to Save the Bay

Or at least they think the bill is too high: Hancock Town Council says it can't afford watershed plan
The Hancock Town Council followed the example of some other Washington County governments, voting Wednesday night to send a letter to the county’s Watershed Implementation Plan Committee stating it cannot afford to spend $31 million to reduce water pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay.

“These numbers were just so astonishingly ridiculous,” Mayor Daniel Murphy said of the costs of reducing nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the bay’s watershed.
According to Wikipedia, the population of Hancock was 1725 in 2000 and declining.  A cost of $31 million makes the burden per tax payer $18,000, or if spread over a 10 year period, approximately $1,800 per year.

Seems excessive, given the limited benefits to the people in Hancock.
Earlier this week, Clear Spring’s town council took the same action, sending a letter to the committee acknowledging the problem, but stating it could not pay for $1.3 million in pollution-reducing measures.

The town could take some measures to help reduce pollution — swail repair, riparian buffers and planting trees — but the town does not have the money to implement any large plans to reduce nutrient pollution, Town Manager David Smith said.

Among municipalities, only Hagerstown ($210 million) and Boonsboro ($36 million) had larger estimates for reducing stormwater runoff into the watershed than Hancock. The cost for the county government to control runoff was estimated at more than $500 million.

The total cost to the county and local governments is estimated in excess of $1.1 billion over a 13-year period. That includes $230 million to reduce septic system discharges.
The population of Washington County wass ~147,000 in 2000, so the per capita costs for the county are somewhat less, only about $7500 each.  I wonder why Hancock is twice as costly?

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