From Harford County government:
By now, you have most likely heard of the new state-required stormwater fee that 10 Maryland counties, including Harford, must start collecting in the near future. What this means for Harford County taxpayers is that you will now have to pay an annual fee that will go toward funding stormwater infrastructure and remediation practices in the county.
This fee is the result of years of lobbying by environmental interest groups in Annapolis, who contended that local governments in Maryland were not doing enough to treat runoff that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Last year, the General Assembly passed House Bill 987, which now requires us to charge the stormwater fee, and the bill was signed into law by Governor O’Malley.
While I share their desire for a clean and healthy Bay, as you probably do too, I question the priorities of those in Annapolis who feel that no price is too steep to pay for only a marginal improvement in Bay quality.
Consider that stormwater and urban runoff from Maryland are the source of around 5 percent of the sediment and 2 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into the Bay. Are the benefits to the Bay worth the strain that the implementation of these improvements will cause for our working families and the young adults trying to buy their first homes?
We know that the Susquehanna River, which flows through New York and Pennsylvania, is responsible for nearly 27 percent of the sediment, 41 percent of the nitrogen and 25 percent of the phosphorus in the Bay as a whole, and those percentages are significantly higher if you only consider the portion of the Bay that is in Maryland rather than Virginia.
Time and again, Maryland’s leaders have not only bowed to pressure from environmental agencies and interest groups, but they have raised the bar even higher on themselves, much to the detriment of Maryland taxpayers.
There is no question that stormwater upgrades are necessary and that best management practices related to stormwater can improve water quality, but these things do come at a significant cost. We estimate that meeting our stormwater requirements could cost us as much as $90 million between now and 2017.
While we will comply with the state law that forces us to collect the stormwater fee, as well as work diligently toward meeting our federal stormwater discharge requirements, we will continue to work on behalf of our taxpayers and businesses in trying to mitigate the effects of this fee and others like it coming down the pipeline.
David R. Craig
Harford County Executive
rj derrick says
So we are going to get taxed because it rains on our property. What a state, just another way for O’Malley to get money to pay for all the hand outs to the non-productive citizens of this state.
The Money Tree says
Rather than charge the citizens they ought affix a set fee specifically for developers and builders based upon size of a structure and impervious surfacing (asphalt or concrete, typically parking lots), and make it hefty. Runoff is much worse in areas where there is no opportunity for absorption or filtering through natural grasses and soils. Asphalt parking lots and overdevelopment in general are the worst culprits. Ram it to Walmart…make sure they pay for building in a watershed (Plumtree).
Kinda like the Shyt Tax…. gotta love Maryland!!
The money grabbers in Annapolis will show us no mercy. The majority of voters keep putting them back in office time after time so they must be doing something that appeals to the masses.
The CE states, accurately, that the majority of pollutants are not from storm water and urban runoff but from contributors further upstream. Yet the governor and his enablers in Annapolis see nothing wrong with saddling the hard working taxpayers with monstrous fees to solve a fraction of the problem. If environmental stewardship is really what this is all about, why not go after the real problems? Other counties have banned together and formed the Clean Chesapeake Coalition. Why is Harford County not part of that organization? Why are we rolling over and begging for abuse?
The Money Tree says
Because the residents of this county lean republican, have more disposable income, lack a lobby group, are not described as among the assortment of victim demographics and are therefore the best pockets to pick.
I’ve looked into this “Clean Chesapeake Coalition”. All it is is a group of counties that are paying a fancy Baltimore law firm $50,000 each of taxpayer money to give them “legal advice”, but not to litigate. Why should Harford County do this when the county government has a dozen full-time lawyers on staff who also give “legal advice”? Sounds like a waste of money to me.
Fed up says
VSeitz – that is actually false. The biggest sources of contamination to the bay are agricultural runoff and untreated and/or partially treated wastes (including farming wastes and POTW discharges). Maryland is doing a perfectly good job polluting the Bay along her shores – we don’t need to cast blame anywhere when we are not addressing our own issues. Neither of these waste sources are addressed in the non-sensical fantasy bills and taxes already in place. As I suggested below, how about we hold our witless politicians accountable? They have our money, they spend our money, they ask for more of our money. Yet, we never (literally) see a single shred of evidence that it is being used appropriately. How is the bay any better off today than it was 10 years ago with our bogus flush tax was first implemented? What specific actions have been taken in MD, using MD tax dollars to improve our land management and rid the waters of pollutants?
pi stofft axpa yer says
So this tax… Anybody read it yet, or are you just going to let Craig rile you up?
I have read it. Sadly, I have not read any legislation coming from the Harford County officials ‘trying to mitigate the effects of this fee and others like it coming down the pipeline.’
Fed up says
This bill is absolute manure! The Beatles had it right in the 60s about the tax man. In the 60s the tax rate that they faced was approaching 90% – they were taxed for absolutely everything from a corrupt and desperate government….and now we are faced with the same thing. I say stuff it to any of the politicians that are behind this boloney! I will not pay for rain! I will not pay for sunshine, or snow or wind – got it? You did not provide this resource to me and I will not pay one penny for it comrade!
Fed up says
Ok – so I post my obvious objection to this bogus money grab and someone give me a “thumbs down.” So who is the brain dead drone that supports this? Really? You really support the government charging you (and me) for the rain that hits our land? If you’re going to be so bold to support this bs, please tell us why.
How about the fracking sludge being dumped into the PA streams and rivers that run down to our Bay? I know of people who work for these non tax paying gas companies in PA who, when dumping grounds are closed at night, are ordered to dump the sludge into the nearby streams and tributaries that run down the Susquehanna into our Bay waters. Should we be paying for the money grabbing gas companies’ who do not even pay PA taxes to clean up their own mess which comes down to us in MD? A Harford County tax payer
Fed up says
We wait in silence for the bold statement in support of this….I see thumb clickers but no comments. My guess is that nobody will step forward and write a thing in support of this bill – why? Because it defies all common sense and logic. Although I see there are two people from the Twilight Zone that think we should pay for the rain! Please explain how I’m seeing this all wrong. BTW – today might be a costly one in Harford County – the rain is supposed to move into the area by mid-morning!!! I have my checkbook ready. 😛
I don’t suppport the tax but here is something for you to think about. Maybe it is because after reading your many postings on this site they have decided they don’t like you. People do that you know, form a negative opinion about someone and then nothing they say or do is any good or is all stupid. Sound familiar? After all you’re so lovable.
Larry Smith says
Nitrogen pollution is the Bay’s arch villain. Yet we know that addressing agriculture and wastewater treatment plant nitrogen pollution is about 16.8 times cheaper than addressing septic tank and stormwater nitrogen pollution. Retrofitting current municipal runoff systems and replacing functional septic tanks is an unconscionable waste of money — unconscionable because our task is greater than the money we have to work with; and if we’re serious about cleaning up the Bay we have to spend whatever we do have as smartly as possible. The saddest part about things like this is there isn’t a single person who posted a comment here who would mind paying a new tax in the least if he or she knew it would be properly spent. The purposeful and blatant wasting of preciously earned resources just to make liberals FEEL better is maddening…indescribably maddening.
Common Sense says
I object to paying a new tax.
Fed up says
Amen Larry S!! I would ask one simple question to everyone. We, as residents of Harford County, pay a “fee” that originated approximately 10 yrs ago – it started at about $30/year – it has obviously increased. I believe it’s $45/year, which would be a 50% increase but that’s another rant altogether. It was jammed down our throats because the Bay needed to be cleaned up. Has anyone ever seen a real report of the success of these “cleanup actions” or even a clear statement of what was done for all those millions of dollars collected? I know the answer is “NO” – we have never seen a thing and there is zero accountability by our government because we never demand it. So now they want to slam every resident with about $400 – annually I’m guessing – to do the same thing the $45/annually was supposed to do. Does anyone smell the dead fish here??? I know a few people are paying attention – can the rest put aside your ridiculous political senses and use your common sense?
You know enough is enough. As the above comments noted there is certainly no accountability by the Maryland State Government. Will this money get side tracked like the transportation fund, and by the way why doesn’t anyone spell out where and how much of the transportation fund money was transferred and where did it go ? In addition to this new fee you also have the new $20,000 septic systems which are ridiculous. A great waste of money is the millions of dollars we spend planting trees which no one takes care of after they are planted. Did you ever notice what happens to a vacant piece of land when no one mows it, it grows up in trees naturally at no cost. Everyone needs to take a look at what moron legislators are voting to pass this kind of legislation and vote them the hell out of Dodge next election, including the LT. Govenor. Thanks Mr. Craig for being concerned, rational and displaying common sense.
The Money Tree says
Once sidetracked to the transportation fund it becomes anybody’s oyster and completely untraceable. I understand Baltimore City is now projected for a budget shortfall of 745M over the next 10 years. I fully expect every attempt and trick to be used to transfer funds from every available county to Baltimore City because after all they can’t help it; they’re the great “victim” class.
OWE’Malley and friends creating another “slush fund.”
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I already pay fees to my homeowners association to maintain and eventually rebuild storm water runoff ponds that are required by the county. Now I have to pay fees to the county for the same thing. Not to mention the “flush tax” that was already implemented to provide bay cleanup. Just another excuse to take my money with no real accountability by our legislature, county or state.
Sharon Beam says
Maybe we should change the name of the state bird to “Vulture”, or on second thought, rename some of our elected officials in Annapolis.