Ulman Proposes New Stormwater Management Fee

The fee, proposed to satisfy a new state law, would pay for mitigation projects to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has submitted legislation to the County Council to create a stormwater utility fee – a new revenue stream mandated by state law (attached).

“This is a step we have to take, and it is a step that is right to take,” Ulman said when he announced the legislation with Councilman Calvin Ball, D-2.  “Howard County will do its part to keep our waters clean. Uncontrolled stormwater runoff is a significant problem that has been overlooked too long.” 

Stormwater runoff – rainwater that is not absorbed into the ground, but rolls along impervious surfaces, picking up debris, fertilizer and other pollutants – is a major source of pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law that required larger jurisdictions to collect money and develop programs for stormwater management. 

Legislation proposed would create a property fee of $7.80 per 500 square feet of impervious surface, calculated by the county’s Geographic Information Service (GIS) technology. 

The owner of a home with 2,640 square feet of impervious surface would pay $39 per year (5 x $7.80). A larger home with, for instance, a longer, impervious driveway, totaling 12,540 square feet, would pay $195  (25 x $7.80). 

The proposed legislation also includes one-time, partial reimbursement for improvements to stormwater treatment.  Once upgrades are complete, homeowners may be eligible for an annual credit for as much as 50 percent off of the fee. 

There are various ways to improve the permeability of residential areas, including detention and retention ponds, permeable driveways and the use of water-capturing devices such as rain barrels.

Homes built after more rigid stormwater guidelines were imposed, in 2002, will also eligible to receive a credit.

According to a statement released by the county, the fund is expected to collect $7 million in its first year with an annual reevaluation to ensure it can cover ongoing projects, which may include:

  • Stream restoration
  • Pond retrofits
  • Bio swales
  • Curb bump-outs
  • Asphalt reduction
  • Green roofs
  • Maintenance
  • Public awareness

This article has been corrected to indicate the fee is YEARLY.

letstalkaboutit January 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM
There is absolute accountability for reduction in stormwater related pollutants. Each county has developed a watershed implementation plan where the county describes what is intends to do to reach very specific, scientifically determined, reductions in pollutants. Stormwater management is only one of the elements of that plan. The state, and the county, are held accountable for achieving the goals they specify. Google "Howard County WIP" to learn more.
Concerned Elkridgean January 26, 2013 at 01:01 PM
And Howard County is suppose to be one of best counties. The county and Maryland tax you to death.. So they can pay salaries like $250,000 to our supertindent of schools and 170,000 to director of public works.. $160,000+ to our county exec. Ken Ulman who has been hand picked for governor... Yup... They don't want us to have a life just work harder so we have less time to fight them.
George Young January 26, 2013 at 09:22 PM
TAX TAX TAX AND MORE TAX. And Ulman would likem to be Governor; ar you kidding me?????
Paul Coon April 11, 2013 at 08:21 PM
I think anon is referring to accountability of the money not of the results. How much of this new tax actually goes toward "fixing" the perceived problem. Where is the study that "proves" the impact of non-permeable surfaces as compared to permeable surfaces. Even permeable surfaces only absorb so much water (if given enough time) - most of the water from a big thunderstorm will end up in the bay regardless of what kind of surface it falls on. I thought the biggest problem was farmland and their fertilzers and animal waste - most farmland is permeable but they have a lot of runoff regardless. It's hard not to suspect that we are being baffled with BS so the gov't can take more money from us. What's next solor refraction/absorption taxes?
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