Howard develops watershed protection fee assistance

Howard County is developing regulations to provide “hardship assistance” to commercial, religious and not-for-profit property owners who will be impacted by the new Watershed Protection Fee passed by the council earlier this year.

The county’s Department of Finance also announced this week that the Watershed Protection Fund bills for not-for-profit entities will be postponed pending final approval of the hardship regulations.

The department will make a draft of the hardship regulations available by June 21 and a public hearing on the draft will be held 7 p.m. June 23 at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.

The proposed regulations will be sent to the County Council in late August for a legislative session Sept. 3.

Under state law, the county must being collecting a watershed protection fee this year. The county is expected to collect $18 million a year to be used toward infrastructure improvements, stream bank restoration, removal of impervious surfaces and other projects to treat storm water run-off before it enters waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

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