Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stormwater Taxes Coming to Calvert

Even though the now partially repealed "Rain Tax" never applied to Calvert County, it doesn't mean we're off the hook: Calvert commissioners face tough call on whether to implement new stormwater fee - Option presented to collect $25 per property owner to help meet WIP goals
Shortly after the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners was briefed on the fiscal climate for the upcoming year, which requires difficult decisions regarding furloughs, layoffs and tax increases, the board is faced again with a difficult financial decision on how to proceed with the Watershed Implementation Plan.

The WIP is a mandated program to reduce nutrient loads in the Chesapeake Bay, and initially was estimated to cost Calvert County more than $1 billion. After more analysis, the cost estimate was lowered and the deadline for thresholds is looming.
A billion here, a billion there, and eventually you're talking about real money. I assume that's out to 2025, the usual timeline for
“We’re taking incremental steps to meet our target loads,” said Terry Shannon, county administrator.

Danielle Conrow, project engineer in the county Department of Public Works, presented to the commissioners April 14 the idea to implement a $25-per-year property owner fee that would begin to fund the county’s stormwater management plan.
Is that per property or per owner? It makes a big difference. We own 4 lots, and a slip. Is that a $25 fee or a $125 fee? In some areas of our community, the original lots are the old Cracker-Jack type lots, that takes 5 to make room for a house. How is this fair? $25 for a property regardless of size?
“It’s our responsibility to make sure this program is in place,” said Rai Sharma, director of the Department of Public Works.
Why? Obama ignores lots of laws that are on the books, especially immigration.
Currently, the responsibilities involved in the program would be on current staff, but requiring this would affect customer service in the department, Sharma said. There needs to be a designated person who is totally dedicated to drafting the plans and implementing the program.

The $25 fee would fund the position, which would allow the employee to apply for grant funding to implement the stormwater management master plan, which has yet to be drafted.
I assume that most of the stormwater management upgrade needs for Calvert County will occur in our limited cities, Solomons, Prince Frederick, North Beach and Chesapeake Beach. A tax like this on property will, of course, collect it predominantly outside those areas, thus, as usual, making the rural poor pay for the urban elites messes.

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