Baltimore County officials are on track to show the Chesapeake Bay some love with more than $33 million in Bay restoration projects planned and a new initiative to help make it easier for nonprofits to pay their state-mandated stormwater remediation fee.
On Friday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County will utilize funds generated from the State mandated Stormwater Remediation Fee to help eligible nonprofits remove impervious paving from their properties.
The controversial Stormwater Remediation Fee, also known as the Rain Tax, was implemented by Baltimore's County Council in May 2013. The following annual fees were established:
- $39 for single residence
- $21 for townhouses
- $32 for condominiums
- $20 per 2,000 square feet of impervious surface for nonprofits
- $69 per 2,000 square feet of impervious surface for commercial/industrial
"With its 200 miles of waterfront, the people of Baltimore County have a unique appreciation of this precious natural resource," Kamenetz said in a statement. "Working with its nonprofit organizations, the County will be able to use $3 million of the fees to fund projects on their property, moving a positive step forward to a cleaner bay."
When the Council adopted the fee structure, the commercial rates for nonprofit organizations were reduced to less than one-third of the for-profit commercial rate to help make it more affordable, according to a statement. The Credit Program being made available to non-profits will allow these organizations to reduce, without expense, water runoff before it leaves their property.
Eligible nonprofit organizations can apply for the impervious removal credit program by March 1, 2014. As many projects as possible will be funded until depletion of the $3 million in available funds, according to officials. Applicants not selected this year are encouraged to apply the following year. More information on the non-profit credit program may be found on the County's Stormwater Remediation Fee web page, located at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/stormwaterfee#nonprofit.
In addition to announcing the new program for nonprofit organizations, County Executive Kamenetz also released the initial report summarizing how the County is allocating stormwater mitigation fee funds.
"We have taken very seriously the obligation to utilize every dollar raised by this fee to projects that will help clean up the Chesapeake Bay," Kamenetz said.
The report indicates that in its initial year, Baltimore County will begin $33.4 million of remediation projects, in which more than $23 million would be generated by the fee, and another $10 million from existing budgetary sources within the County's Metropolitan District Fund.
In addition to the removal of impervious surface on land owned by non-profits, projects include tree planting and reforestation, storm drain retrofits, stream bed rebuilding, street sweeping, and improvements to County and State owned land, all designed to reduce runoff and remove pollutants before reaching the Chesapeake Bay, according to a statement.
Learn more about the projects in the report, Baltimore County: 200 Miles of Waterfront, Saving the Chesapeake Bay, available on the County's website at http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Environment/stormwaterfeerpt140123.pdf.