Anne Arundel County's stormwater fee hasn't been collected yet, but the County Council has already changed it. By a 7-0 vote Monday night, council members agreed to reduce the maximum fee that commercial property owners would pay and to phase in the fee for some property owners. The changes were made to make the stormwater fee more palatable to County Executive Laura Neuman, who vetoed the stormwater fee that the council passed earlier this spring.As I've argued before, I think charging rural homeowners twice as much as single family urban homeowners is grossly unfair. The actual cost that the "rain tax" is trying to raise money for is the expense of dealing with the stormwater from endless masses of rural houses and their associated road systems, while a rural house it typically surrounded by land which will absorb any runoff from its impervious surfaces. But in places like Anne Arundel, the city folk have the votes....
Owners of nonresidential properties still must pay based on the percentage of their lot that's covered by impervious surfaces such as parking lots and rooftops. But they'll be capped at the equivalent of 25 percent of their annual property tax, instead of 35 percent in the original version of the stormwater fee.
And for any fee that is greater than $500 per year, there will be a three-year phase-in period, under the bill passed Monday.
Residential property owners will still pay $34 per year for townhomes, $85 for most single-family homes and $170 for rural homes.