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Arundel council kills bill to reduce stormwater fee to $1

Laws and LegislationElections

Anne Arundel County property owners will have to keep paying their stormwater fees, after the county council killed a bill that would have reduced the fees to $1.

County Councilman Daryl Jones, a Severn Democrat, proposed rolling back the fees to $1.

"I think it is incumbent upon this council to remove as much of the burden from the back of landowners here in Anne Arundel County as we can," he said.

Jones said he expects that state lawmakers will change the state law that requires Maryland's urban and suburban jurisdictions to establish a fee to raise money for stormwater pollution projects.

Jones only secured two other votes for the bill, from Councilman Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican; and Council Chairman Jerry Walker, a Gambrills Republican. Four votes are needed on the seven-member council to pass a bill.

The stormwater fee bill was the first bill sponsored by Jones since he returned to the council in September, after more than a year away. He served jail time on a federal tax charge and was removed from the council, but ultimately won his seat back after a court battle.

Councilman John Grasso advocated strongly for keeping the stormwater fees, which he said are neccessary to pay for projects that reduce pollution that harms creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

"Sometimes you have to spend money to save money," Grasso said.

Grasso was joined in voting against the bill by Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat; Councilman Chris Trumbauer, an Annapolis Democrat; and Councilman Richard Ladd, a Broadneck Republican.

Anne Arundel's stormwater fees range from $34 to $170 per year for residential property owners. Commercial and industrial property owners pay based on the amount of impervious surface on their land.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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