Del. Steve Schuh, a candidate for Anne Arundel County executive, is calling for the county to roll back its property tax to offset the new stormwater fees.
Schuh, a Gibson Island Republican, launched a petition effort on Friday to lobby the County Council and County Executive Laura Neuman to make the change for next year.
Schuh said the stormwater fee -- which he calls the "rain tax" -- violates Anne Arundel's property tax that limits how much property taxes can increase each year.
The fact that the stormwater fee is levied on property owners and is unavoidable "in effect makes it another property tax," Schuh said.
He said a $25 million to $30 million cut in property taxes would offset what property owners are paying in stormwater fees.
Under the stormwater fees approved earlier this year, residential property owners in Anne Arundel pay $34, $85 or $170 per year, based on the type of house they own. The fees are being phased in over three years.
Nonresidential property owners are charged based on the amount of impervious surfaces on their properties. There is a cap on the fees, which are phased in if they amount to more than $500 per year.
The money is used for pollution-control projects, such as restoring streams damaged by uncontrolled runoff and converting stormwater holding ponds into wetlands that slow and treat runoff.
Schuh voted for the state law that mandates that Anne Arundel, Baltimore City and other large jurisdictions charge stormwater fees to property owners. He said, however, that he thinks Anne Arundel County could have been in in compliance with the state law -- and federal Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements -- by using existing resources on stormwater projects instead of new taxes.
"Anne Arundel County imposed the most financially burdensome fee or tax of any county in the state," he said.
Schuh said a mailing to county voters that includes petition postcards. He said he'll present the completed postcard to the County Council.
Schuh and Neuman are expected to face off in the Republican primary for county executive in 2014. On the Democratic side, Joanna Conti, who lost in 2010, is the only candidate.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun