Baltimore County Council to discuss stormwater fee reduction

Balto. Co. Council to discuss cutting stormwater fees Tuesday, with vote next week.

The Baltimore County Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal to cut the county's stormwater fees by one-third.

The proposal from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz would go into effect for the next round of stormwater bills – which are generally part of property tax bills -- if approved by the council.

Homeowners pay the annual fee based on their type of home: $39 for single-family homes, $21 for town homes and attached homes and $32 for condominiums.

The new fees for homeowners would be $26 for single-family homes, $14 for town homes and attached homes and $22 for condominiums.

Commercial and institutional properties are assessed based on their amount of impervious surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots, rooftops and sidewalks. Their rate also would be cut by one-third.

The county will collect $8.1 million less for stormwater projects, but Kamenetz's administration says it can still carry out needed pollution-reduction projects, even with less money.

Baltimore County is required to cut down on polluted stormwater runoff as part of the multi-state effort to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The county is among 10 jurisdictions mandated by the state in 2012 to collect a fee from property owners to pay for stormwater pollution projects. The fees have been derided by opponents as a "rain tax" and there are efforts at the General Assembly to abolish the requirement.

The hearing on stormwater fees will take place during the council's regular work session, scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday. A vote is planned for the council's next meeting, 7 p.m. March 2. Both meetings are open to the public and will be held at the Historic Courthouse, 400 Washington Ave. in Towson.

pwood@baltsun.com

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