Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 20, 2013

Frederick legislators vote to fight stormwater fee

FREDERICK (AP) — Frederick County lawmakers voted to support a bill releasing the county from charging property owners a stormwater runoff fee.

The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill last year directing Frederick County and nine other jurisdictions to establish the fee by July 1. The money will pay for efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Frederick News-Post reported that six lawmakers voted Friday in favor while two voted against the measure. Several of those supporting the bill said they know it won’t pass, but voted in favor on principle.

Republican Delegate Donald Elliott said he felt Pennsylvania isn’t pulling its weight in bay cleanup efforts.

Delegate Galen Clagett said he voted against the bill, noting the size of the fee has been left to the counties; commissioners could set rates at 1 cent and still stay on the right side of the law.

However, Commissioners President Blaine Young, who attended the delegation meeting in Annapolis, said he      doesn't want to cede any ground to the state. Instead, the county will explore its legal options for refusing to set up the fee, he said.

Charging property owners any amount, however small, would send a message that the county accepts responsibility for meeting stormwater cleanup targets, but Young said local officials believe these goals are unattainable.

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