Now is the Time for Stormwater Reform

The Howard County Council has killed the plan to remove the stormwater remediation fee:

Howard County Council rejects stormwater fee phase-out

In a 4-1 vote on Monday, the Howard County Council struck down a measure to eliminate the county’s controversial stormwater remediation fee, dubbed the “rain tax” by opponents. Introduced by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Councilman Greg Fox, the measure would have slashed the stormwater fee in half by fiscal year 2017 and eliminated it by fiscal year 2018.

This is good, but as I wrote in January, the real motivation for the stormwater fee is to improve stormwater management. For this to be successful, and the fee to have real meaning, the Howard County Council should implement credits against the fee for properties with on-site stormwater remediation and treatment. For a single-family home, this may be as simple as a rain barrel. For larger properties, this may mean bioretention facilities or rain gardens.

With incentives in place, the stormwater fee can best serve its intended purpose of improving outflows into the Chesapeake Bay.

Image by Gilbert Garcia / Flickr.