Kevin Kamenetz
Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz. File Nov. 2013 (Max Franz/The Daily Record)

Baltimore County plans to slash ‘rain tax’ fees

(UPDATED 3:53 p.m.) — Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his intention to work with the county council to reduce the rates the county charges for stormwater remediation — a fee derisively referred to as the “rain tax.”

The proposal must be approved by the council and has yet to be submitted, but it would reduce the annual maximum paid by a homeowner to $26, down from $39. The fees for commercial properties would still be based on a calculation of impervious surfaces, but the multiplier would drop from $69 to $46 per 2,000 square feet.

“A year ago we made a conscious decision to have a very low fixed fee for residential and to make the commercial property owners pay a fee based upon the amount of their impervious surface because we believe the commercial properties are the ones that are creating the greatest runoff, and the commercial property owners are better able to absorb the expense,” Kamenetz said.

But he said that he hopes commercial property owners will recognize the county is being careful about how it spends their money while at the same time meeting the environmental goals that have been mandated.

According to the county, the measure is expected to receive “significant support” when it’s introduced by Council Chair Cathy Bevins. The legislation is expected to be introduced next month and the council should take up the issue by its first meeting in March.

“I am very supportive of reducing this fee,” Bevins said.  “I have been working with the County Executive and his staff for months on this, and I am particularly pleased that we are going to reduce the burden on those families who reside in mobile home communities.”

The Maryland General Assembly passed the stormwater remediation fee, which requires the state’s 10 largest jurisdictions to pay for a fully funded program to address runoff, so the state could meet standards mandated in a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency.

List of revised fees

Type of property          Current fee         Proposed fee

Individual home                        $39                       $26

Attached home                          $21                       $14

Condominium                            $32                      $22

Commercial property               $69                      $46 per 2,000 sf impervious surface

Institutional non-profits           $20                     $14 per 2,000 sf impervious surface

Source: Baltimore County

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.

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