Residents and businesses will see a new charge on their water bills effective July 1, as the City Council on Monday passed legislation to enact a stormwater fee.
The state-mandated stormwater fee is meant to pay for measures—infrastructure replacement, stream and watershed recovery, street sweeping, etc.—that would result in a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.
The fee is tier-based. Residential property owners in the first tier, with 820 or fewer square feet of impervious surface on their properties, pay $10 per quarter. Those with more than 820 square feet, up to and including 1,050 square feet, pay $15 per quarter. Anyone over that would pay $30 per quarter.
Business are charged $15 per quarter for every 1,050 square feet of impervious surface on the property. Once the stormwater fee reaches an amount equal to 20 percent of that business’s property tax, it is capped.
Buildings used exclusively for religious services—as well as elementary schools, middle schools and high schools—are charged a flat rate of $12 per year per 1,050 square feet of impervious surface. For a church-owned building not used for religious services—a rectory or function hall for example—the fee structure is the same as for businesses.
State and city-owned buildings are exempt from the stormwater fee.
Homeowners and businesses can take advantage of a credit system to offset their fees. A business may choose to either apply for credits or to accept a cap on their stormwater fee equal to 20 percent of their property tax, but not both. Credits are given for participating in sanctioned clean-up events, installing rain gardens, planting trees and participating in “de-paving events.” Details are available at www.cleanwaterbaltimore.org. Click on the tab labeled “stormwater.”