Letter to The Aegis
5:04 PM EDT, March 26, 2013
Maryland's former Republican governor hit Harford property owners with a flush tax to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The current Democratic governor is taxing (a fee) property owners of Harford with a tax (fee) to control storm water runoff that pollutes the Bay. Homeowners will now be taxed for [flushing] and for storm water. This is known as the gold mine experience, homeowners give the politicians gold and the politicians give us the shaft.
In my opinion, the cleanup plan for the Bay is a disjointed one. If a crime is committed in the U.S. that involves more than one state, the FBI becomes involved. The pollution of the Chesapeake Bay is caused by pollution from a multitude of states, such as New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. I believe that federal tax funds should pay for the Bay clean up. The EPA sends out directives to the various states and depends upon the various states to implement them. Some states have challenged the EPA directives in court and have won verdicts.
Farmers in Harford County have been hit with the task of fencing miles and miles of stream on their properties. People living in developments with storm water ponds are already paying a fee to maintain the pond and the current proposal may cost them an additional fee.
In The Sun of March 19, an article reported that Baltimore County proposed a fee for homeowners that between $18 and $36 a year for storm water management. Harford County's proposed plan by the County Executive is much higher than the proposed Baltimore County plan. Is Baltimore County's a better managed plan? It appears to be much cheaper.
The families of some farmers I know have owned their farmland for more than 200 years and the streams were on the land when the families acquired them. I have owned my house and lot since 1956 and there is a wet weather stream on it; 200 years ago, the Bay was not polluted and in 1956 I was not aware of pollution. The question is: Why should all landowners be held responsible for today's pollution?
Hopefully, I won't have to fence the stream that runs through my property even though the stream has frogs in it and it is possible the frogs do-do in the stream.
I just read the article in the March 22 Aegis entitled "Storm water fee protested" and am of the opinion that some people, including a council member, who support the fee are conflicted by self interest and may be biased against the best interest of property owners who will have to pay this new tax.