McNees Minute: Storm Water Fee

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Stormwater fees are a hot topic in Pennsylvania. Many municipalities are required by permit to implement controls that reduce pollutants in stormwater or the rate of runoff to fund these compliance costs, municipalities charge landowners’ fees for the benefits of stormwater controls.  Stormwater fees are enacted by local legislation, so they vary. Fee structures are typically based on a property’s impervious surfaces, like pavement, that increase runoff. 

Whether a fee is reasonable is fact-specific, and many legal issues remain unresolved. Things to consider include: is the fee proportional to the value of stormwater service? Does the program offer a credit system for landowners’ stormwater controls? Are there opportunities to partner on projects? When municipalities develop fees, stakeholders should be engaged in the discussion. A cooperative approach early in the process often leads to the best outcomes.

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