In response to concerns from Howard County nonprofits that a new stormwater fee would be a hardship to pay, County Executive Ken Ulman today announced a program that offers a credit for up to 100 percent of the fee in exchange for a promise from the organization to develop a stormwater management plan.
"This program is a true partnership, and will accomplish two goals,” Ulman said in a statement. “It will make sure that many properties throughout the county are doing their part to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean, and it will reduce the financial burden for many organizations which are doing so much good for the community already.”
Nonprofits and religious organizations that want to participate must submit a notice of intent by Oct. 31. According to the county, letters with information about the program have been sent to 181 property owners.
Organizations submitting a notice of intent will receive a credit on the stormwater fee, which will be billed in December. County officials will then develop a management plan for participating properties to treat stormwater on-site.
Though the deadline to receive a credit for the fee is at the end of October, applications will be accepted until Dec. 31. Refunds will be provided to applicants submitting after the October deadline.
Forms are available online at www.cleanwaterhoward.com.
Organizations may also opt to develop and construct their own stormwater management and treatment system and then apply to receive credits based on the percentage of stormwater treated on-site.
The credit program for nonprofits is part of a larger stormwater fee bill approved by the County Council in July. Maryland's nine largest counties and the city of Baltimore have been mandated by the state to collect a fee that will go towards funding water management practices to keep pollutants out of the Chesapeake Bay. Each county and Baltimore city had leeway in how they decided to implement the fee.
In Howard County, residential property owners will be billed based on a tiered system. Townhouse and condominium owners will pay $15 a year, single-family homes on lots of up to a quarter acre will be charged $45 and homes on properties larger than a quarter-acre will pay $90. Commercial apartments will be charged $15 per unit.
Fees for commercial properties will be calculated based on the property's impervious surface area, at a charge of $15 per impervious unit.