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Howard County's property tax for watershed protection is misguided [Letter]

The Maryland Watershed Protection Plan has the potential to prevent, and even reverse, the erosion that is damaging our streams and the Bay. However, the county's decision to pay for this through a property tax based on the "total impervious structure" is misguided.

Impervious structures aren't the only thing that lead to the negative consequences of runoff. Fertilized lawns and pesticides have a major impact on the Bay. Taxing someone for runoff from their house and driveway, but not for their expansive lawn is not rational.

Also, not all properties have stormwater runoff that make it to our streams. While many older properties simply have gutters that lead to a back yard, newer properties are designed with storm water management that funnels water away from the buildings, into holding areas which overflow directly into streams leading to rivers and the Bay.

Lastly, it is not clear why the county is exempt from this tax. If the costs of Watershed Protection are to be passed on to those who are contributing the most to it, the county should also be required to consider these costs in their water management, building and zoning decisions.

Joan Pontius

Ellicott City

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