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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Where your fee (tax?) money goes

      We often have trouble seeing exactly where our tax money goes.  There is one unpopular fee (tax?) called the stormwater management fee that has been sarcastically labeled a "rain tax."  Calling anything a tax stigmatizes it.  Once you get past the political rhetoric about this fee you can see how it is designed to address an important environmental impact caused by development.

     When we build homes and businesses we create impervious surfaces  and create storm water runoff that carries the water and soil into our streams, lakes and Chesapeake Bay.  Walk around after a heavy rain and you will see runoff like shown above. Pictures below are ones I have used in past posts that show this problem.

   Recently I brought to the County's attention a situation where storm runoff was creating a problem along the Patuxent Trail below Brokenland Parkway.  The picture below shows an aerial view of this issue

   The stormwater from this building's parking lot was channeled in such a way to create a runoff problem.

   As a frequent user of this trail I have watched as after every rain the soil gets washed down this gully and across the trail.

    I reported this issue to the County using the Tell HoCo App. You can download this app on both Android and Apple phones.  It allows you to send info on any problem for the County to address and even provides them with the geographic location of the problem.  I have used this app a few times and the County is really good about addressing problems.   The above issue is now being looked at as to who is responsible for this issue, the County, Columbia Association or the owners of the office building.  Stay tuned.

    Politicians  have so stigmatized the word "taxes" that they have used fees as a way to generate new revenue.  Here is an old editorial from the Sun on this issue.


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