House Bill 987 (HB 987) (2012)
In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation (House Bill 987) requiring jurisdictions subject to a Phase I Municipal Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (a federal stormwater permit) to adopt and implement local laws or ordinances necessary to establish a stormwater remediation fee by July 1, 2013. Carroll County is one of the ten jurisdictions in Maryland that was required to implement this program. The law was intended to create a stormwater utility and, through the fee, provide financial assistance to the local jurisdiction for the implementation of local stormwater management plans and permit requirements, such as stormwater management practices and stream and wetland restoration activities.
The law allowed for the stormwater remediation fee to capture all costs associated with a stormwater management program, including capital improvements (such as stormwater retrofits), operation and maintenance, public information and education, planning and mapping (such as watershed assessments), monitoring/inspection/enforcement, and administration.Senate Bill 863 (SB 863) (2015)
In 2015, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation (Senate Bill 863) revising the provisions originally signed into law through HB 987. The bill repealed the mandatory provision of the law to establish a fee to fund all or a portion of the jurisdiction's stormwater program (those jurisdictions holding a Phase I NPDES MS4 permit). Most of the other components of the law remain. In place of the fee, SB 863 mandated a jurisdiction to fully fund its stormwater program, not just a portion of the program. The sources of those funds may be determined by the jurisdiction.
In addition, the bill requires a Financial Assurance Plan (FAP) to be submitted to Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) every two years, with the first report due by July 1, 2016, whether a jurisdiction has a fee or not. The FAP must include much of the same information that is already required to be required annually by the NPDES MS4 permit, although the format of the report and data is different between the two processes. The local jurisdiction must hold a public hearing and approve the FAP before submitting it to MDE for evaluation. MDE has 90 days to determine if funding is sufficient. MDE must report to the Governor and General Assembly annually on the status of each jurisdiction's funding. Additional penalties have been established (on top of the penalties that MDE and EPA may already assess for non-compliance with the permit) for jurisdictions not found to have adequate funding.
For additional information on the requirements of SB 863, visit the Maryland Legislative Services website for the General Assembly:
Related State of Maryland Documents and Links:
Related U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Documents and Links:
Related Carroll County Documents and Links:
Action by the Board of County Commissioners
On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the Board passed a series of resolutions that does multiple things. It creates the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund, which satisfies a requirement of HB 987. The resolutions also indicate that funds will be put in that fund using general fund revenues, grants, etc. The amount of funds in that account are to be determined by the Board, informed by recommendation by staff regarding the level of funds needed for that year to adequately fund the stormwater program. These funds will be considered the stormwater remediation allocation, are intended to constitute the stormwater fee, and are intended to demonstrate that the County is already meeting the funding requirements. Following the vote on the resolutions, the Board sent out a news release to explain its position on the issue. Click the link below to view the news release. Click the video link to view the Board's discussion in open session. Click on the link below to view the signed resolutions.
On February 28, 2014, the State accepted a proposal by Carroll County to resolve concerns about the County's approach to the stormwater fee requirement. The Board's approach results in no additional fees or tax rate increases for residents for the purpose of paying for a stormwater management fund. Rather, the County will designate a portion of revenues under the existing tax rate each year based on the operating costs of the County's stormwater program. The letter from the State Attorney General's Office said this approach would meet the requirements of the law. Click on the link below to view the letter from the Attorney General's Office.
To provide guidance on this very important issue, with the concurrence of the Board of County Commissioners, and the support of the Department of Land Use, Planning & Development, the Carroll County Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) served as the core of an advisory group. The purpose of the group was to evaluate potential options for developing a stormwater fee, including on what the fee may be based, how it might be structured, and to whom it might apply. The Stormwater Fee Advisory Group was not tasked with developing or recommending an actual fee amount. The Advisory Group was formed and charged with evaluating rate structure options and recommending an approach for that structure. The Advisory Group met seven times between February and June, 2013, and developed findings and a recommended approach. The Advisory Group's final draft report, titled Rate Structure for Stormwater Remediation Fee: Evaluation of Options for Carroll County, can be viewed at the following links.
To download the entire document as one PDF, please click on the following link:
To review or download PDFs of individual sections of the final draft report, please click on the appropriate link below:
Advisory Group's Meetings: All meetings were held in the Reagan Room at the County Office Building and were open to the public to attend and observe the discussions.
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