Anne Arundel Chapter Updates

2016 Report card

The 2016 Report Card is here! With your support, we have raised the average grade of the County Council by a full letter and the County Executive has also done pretty well. Check out the results here.

Anne Arundel Chapter Helps Defeat Storm Water Repeal

After final passage by the County Council in May 2013, opponents have continued their fight against the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund fees, dubbing the fees a "raintax".

A local revenue stream is essential if we are going to clean up our streams and meet Federal requirements for pollution reduction. The County Council has courageously enacted a reasonable set of fees to restore our streams. Most home owners pay will pay a total of $85 per year or $abut 7 per month. It is not only unrealistic to expect funding from other government sources, but local funding is needed to support bond funding to allow early, concentrated action to fix the problems. We are disappointed that some of our elected officials and candidates for office have failed to demonstrate leadership on this issue that is so critical to quality of life in Anne Arundel. For details of the fees requirements see:

http://www.aacounty.org/departments/public-works/wprp/watershed-protection-restoration-fee/

The bill also provides for non-residential property owners and homeowners associations to receive an up to 50% credit against stormwater fees for stormwater abatement practices in good working order. Individual homeowners will be eligible for rebates against the cost of installing stormwater abatement practices.

New Stomwater Fees Support $400 million in Projects Over Next Six Years

Stormwater fees generated by 2013 legislation and upheld this year is being put to immediate action to stem pollution using detailed studies of the county's 12 watersheds conducted over the last five + years. The current project pipeline includes 86 projects:

314 retention pond retrofits

873 storm outfall projects

Restoration of 24 miles of streams

The annual income of the fees--$22.5 million will be used to finance bonds that will provide funds for this concentration of projects over the next six years. Each project has been analyzed to show the amount of pollution reduction so that the County can make progress toward the Federally specified pollution reduction goals.

As might be expected given the concentration of past development, north county will receive substantial immediate attention with some $199 million targeted for the Patapsco River. The Magothy is in line for nearly $70 million followed by the South River at $53 million, the Sevran at $42 milliion and the little Patuxent at $29 million.

Most recent opposition to the stormwater fees includes:

Following the 2014 elections, County Executive Steve Schuh, caused to be introduced in the County Council a bill that would have repealed the Stormwater Restoration Fund. Schuh proposed to pay for required stormwater mitigation with general tax revenue, a proposal that was factually challenged by the County Auditor and opposed by many.

That proposal was rejected by the Council four to three with AA Chapter endorsed Councilmen Trumbauer, Grasso, Smith and Pruski voting against. It became clear from Technically I don't think we can say this because the proposal was to start general fund funding in FY 17. Mr. Schuh and the losers of the repeal vote, Councilmen Walker, Fink and Peroutka, then supported a bill that would have substantially reduced the fee in multiple phases. That bill was also defeated by an identical four to three vote.

While we understand from Councilman Walker that he has no plans to offer further proposals to repeal or reduce the fee, we will remain vigilant.

Anne Arundel Elected Officials Performance Report Card

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters Anne Arundel Chapter's newly released performance report card shows a slight improvement in the County Council's environmental efforts over the past two years.

The Chapter based its report card on the stormwater restoration fund intended to reduce polluted runoff, updates to the Critical Areas law, solar energy legislation and a bill to reduce pesticides usage on county property.

Check out the Scorecard here.

And read the press release here.