Councilman failed to provide context on storm water fee [Letter]

April 04, 2013

In Councilman David Marks' recent newsletter, he presented "facts" regarding Baltimore County's proposal to levy a storm water fee on properties throughout the county. However, he failed to provide any context.

The federal government is requiring the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to dramatically reduce the pollution that goes into the bay. Maryland is one of these. We are being required to reduce the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that is killing this beautiful estuary. One key part is to reduce and better manage storm water runoff from roofs, streets, sidewalks, parking lots and other hard surfaces.

Following years of debate about pollution reduction, the legislature directed 10 counties to develop a fee for storm water management. Baltimore County is one that must set a fee to pay for the cost of pollution reduction. I supported this important legislation as another way for us to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. We have expected farmers to clean up their lands, better septic systems to reduce nitrogen pollution and spent money to upgrade waste water treatment plants. Now, we must address the problems caused by runoff from hard ("impervious") surfaces.

Mr. Marks states twice that Gov. O'Malley signed the bill, apparently blaming the governor for getting the counties involved in cleaning up their own storm water pollution.  While the governor signed the bill, it is up to the county to set the fee.

Mr. Marks also says he has not voted for any taxes. Will he vote against efforts to clean up pollution from storm water? Will Mr. Marks continue to be a proud supporter of the environment by supporting a relatively small fee to further clean up the bay and its waters?

Del. Stephen Lafferty

District 42, Baltimore County

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