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Lafferty's advocacy for storm water fee fails to consider other tax increases [Letter]

Executive BranchDavid Marks

I am responding to Del. Stephen Lafferty's most recent letter to the Towson Times, in which he complained that I failed to provide "context" regarding the storm water fee that Gov. O'Malley has required Baltimore County to pass.

Since 2010, I have worked hard to increase open space and improve the environment in Greater Towson. During the 2012 rezoning process, the County Council acted on my recommendation to reduce the intensity of residential zoning in neighborhoods throughout Towson. That dowzoning blocked hundreds of homes from being built on properties such as the Mount Pleasant Golf Course, if it were ever to be sold.

I was also the principal sponsor of open space legislation, which provided the first no-build zoning classification, and have worked to strengthen NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a land preservation organization.

The legislation that Gov. O'Malley signed, and Del. Lafferty supported, requires Baltimore County to pass a storm water fee. While the legislation will surely have an impact on the environment, perhaps we should view it in the "context" of the more than 30 taxes, tolls and fees that have been raised over the past seven years.

Those taxes, tolls and fees are affecting families throughout this state. It would be irresponsible not to scrutinize the effect of another burden on our taxpayers, which is exactly what I promised to do in my newsletter.

The storm water fee requirement also does not exempt religious and nonprofit institutions. Many entities from Greater Towson have contacted my office to express their concerns with this mandate. They may not have contacted Del. Lafferty, but they reached out to me.

It is unfortunate that Del. Lafferty did not contact me before submitting his letter to the Towson Times. I look forward to working with him on future projects, and I will also be happy to inform him how the county government has distinguished itself from Annapolis by not raising more than 30 taxes, tolls or fees over the past few years.

County Councilman David Marks

5th District, Towson

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