Some surprised, angered by county’s ‘rain tax’

The three incoming Fayette County commissioners are facing their first controversy, and one they didn’t even create at that ... as residents and business owners complain about the new stormwater utility bills that went out last month to all property owners in unincorporated Fayette County.

Many of the critics complain they were unaware of the fact they would owe the annual fee, which is not a tax because it is assessed to all property owners, even churches, schools and county facilities. Others simply think it’s folly for the county to charge what they call a “rain tax.”

The stormwater utility was adopted in January of last year as a way to address growing infrastructure problems, most of which are underneath roads in the form of corrugated metal pipe that erodes over time and will have to be replaced to avoid a collapse in the pavement.

There are a number of problem pipes in subdivisions located such that if a collapse were to occur, residents would be stranded for several days while repairs take place because that road is the only way in or out of the subdivision, according to county staff.

The county previously has funded its stormwater program out of the county’s general fund budget. But the problem with doing so is that Peachtree City and Fayetteville residents, who also pay county taxes, are already paying for stormwater utility programs operated in their own cities. Therefore if the county’s stormwater program remains in the general fund, those city residents will be in theory at least “double paying” for a service.

Another problem with using the general fund is that revenues were inadequate to truly address the county’s stormwater needs.

The fee structure is set up so property owners pay for the estimated amount of impervious surfaces on their lot, including not just the home but also a garage, driveway, sidewalks, patios and other improvements. For each 1,000 square feet of such impervious surface, the property owner will pay $4.20 a year.

So for some residents the fee will top out in the neighborhood of $20 while others will pay more depending on the layout and improvements to their lot.

Meanwhile, businesses, churches and schools in the county stand to pay significantly more, particularly if they have large parking lots and other large areas of impervious surface that create stormwater runoff.

There is a dispute process where a property owner can challenge the amount of impervious area assessed to their parcel under the county’s system. But there is no way to avoid the fee entirely, although there is a “credit manual” that allows a variety of ways that property owners can qualify for discounts on their stormwater bills.

According to county officials, property owners with significantly large lots get automatic credits on their bill because such parcels retain more stormwater than smaller lots.

Should the three newly sworn commissioners decide to revisit the stormwater utility bills, there is some sentiment among holdover commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty to eliminate the fee. Both men voted against the measure last January to create the new stormwater billing system.

At the time, McCarty said the county should pay for replacement of stormwater pipe as part of the roads system since they play an integral part in the structural integrity of the road network.

The utility passed on the blessing of outgoing commissioners Robert Horgan, Herb Frady and Lee Hearn. At the time of the vote, county staff noted that the stormwater system is necessary to meet state and federal clean water requirements.

In addition to addressing crumbling stormwater pipes underneath roads, the county’s stormwater program also has an operations and maintenance component for cleaning dirt and debris from storm drains and driveway culverts. The program will also fund a floodplain management and future conditions map that will help insure adequate stormwater protection for new development along with redeveloped properties.

Although some property owners contend their lot does not contribute to stormwater runoff problems, all property owners will benefit from the maintenance of safe drainage systems under public roads, county officials have said.

cogitoergofay
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PTC: Proposing 137% Increase in Stormwater Tax

This on the February 5 Agenda....

This is unbelievable.

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/2/020713%20REGULAR%20MEETING_201...

lblanks
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Credits For Attending Earth Day ????

On stopping by the storm water drain department last week to file for septic credits, I was told that if a county resident attends the upcoming "Earth Day" event and brings a form for organizers to sign, they can submit the form to the county for an additional 10% credit on their storm water bill.

I really have a major problem with this.

Earth Day events have nothing to do with the county government.
Discounts on county revenue collections should not be used to generate
attendance at a privately funded event.

My understanding is that the purpose of the storm water assessment was to finance replacement of needed infrastructure, so this is just wrong.

I followed up with a note to the commissioners and received a reply from Chairman Brown. He advised this was the first he had heard of it and would inquire right away.

I appreciate the Commission looking into the matter and hopefully correcting it.

lblanks
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Should have Clarified...

I was told this by a lady working behind the counter in the Storm Water office. Don't know who originated this or authorized it. The lady was just telling me what she was told.
Commissioner is looking into it for validity and clarification.

AtHomeGym
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lblanks & Earth Day

Clearly the invention of some ardent environmentalist!

LostIslander
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Deteriorating Infrastructure

Where in the world is our stimulus money? In all kinds of states, I see these insidious roadsigns reading "Putting America to Work Project Funded by the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" with the current President's name prominently featured on them. Where are such signs in Fayette County with repair of this deteriorating system? Did Georgia get denied in some way? Do we need to sue? Is there a discrimination in place? Other than against working citizens?

cr
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Stormwater Management Fee

All levels of government (federal, state, county and city) are constantly looking for ways to grow their empires. During lean times, rather than finding ways to shrink their empires, they desperately look ways to preserve them. They invent ways to take more from their serfs and often call them necessary fees to avoid calling them what they are—taxes.

They say that the storm water fee is not a tax because it is only assessed on property owners. Correct me if I’m wrong but what is that big bill that property owners already pay once a year called? This is nothing but a property tax increase to keep the wheels of a mismanaged empire turning—until the next “crisis”.

Rather than funding essential services, the county built several new schools each year for a long time and now, even with a renewed E-Splost, they are wringing their hands trying to decide what to do. We have one brand new school practically deserted which may go on the auction block. They are even toying with the idea of allowing out of county students in for a nominal fee even though their families didn’t pay the higher taxes to build and maintain the schools. Maybe the proportion of our taxes going toward education should have been lower to allow more for these other essential services.

How much money has been wasted on studies, legal fees, land acquisition and construction for the unpopular Fayetteville bypasses, which, by the way, pass through and near some friends and families properties? One wonders what the “impervious square footage” of that project is.

AtHomeGym’s lot sounds as though it’s very similar to mine; four acres, half of which is undisturbed woodland and no creeks, ponds or storm drainage systems anywhere nearby. But that’s not the point. No Fayette County resident should be paying this fee; our taxes are already high enough. As stated earlier, it’s not the amount, it’s the principal.

I hope our three new county commissioners will join with the two remaining commissioners to repeal this ridiculous fee and dismantle the newly created storm water management department.

rsyrkos
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Stormwater

I read of people who's stormwater bill is in the $20.00 range and I think if this is the norm, surely they would have simply raised our property taxes by that amount and not create any of this dissention. Who would have complained about their taxes going from $5,000 to $5,020 as an example?
The problem is that some of us have much higher amounts whether there are issues on the property or not. My bill is $147.00 with a 5-acre credit of $25.20 which leaves me to pay $121.80. I sit on a 25-acre horse farm and most of my impervious surfaces are in the midlle of my property and the runoff doesn't reach the County systems or my neighbours. And why could I not get a 25-acre credit instead of a 5-acre one. The answer is probably because it was done quick and cheap and the objective was to collect money and not fix the problem. I also have to wonder if there is a link between the people who estimated the problem and those who expect get paid to fix it.

The issue is not just this billing. Please note that this law is open ended and the next one(s) could be much larger and for any other ridiculous reasons some evil ( I mean creative) politician could dream up.
Those of you that claim it is not the amount that's important here, you are dead on. Those that say that PTC and Fayetteville should not pay because they are already paying a similar fee to their cities, you are wrong. Those people live in our county and use our roads. There is a pecking order in government and cities are part of the counties and not vice versa. The last I heard, the proverbial brown stuff runs downhill not up!
Lastly, I was at the County meeting on January 2 and admired those who spoke their minds and I thought the new Commissioners spoke well also. We still have a long way to go but I felt they acknowledged that the County was part of the problem and they want the people to be part of the solution. We will see how they handle it.

Husband and Fat...
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You bring up a interesting point.

You bring up an interesting point especially for some of our horse farms. Now you didnt state that you had horses on your 25 acres, but lets say that one does.

A single horse I am told can produce 50 lbs of manure per day. Thats 9 tons a year.

Manure, contains nutrients that can polute lakes, springs, and other water resourses. The worst being nitrogen and phosphorus. When nitrogen finds its way into groundwater and reaches water, it can cause excessive growth of aquatic weeds such as algae. Higher concentrations can be hazardous to both humans and amimals.

So, a horse farmer with no runoff into the county sewer system may actually be harming the water supply without even knowing it.

There are certainly a lot of issues that the citizens and commissioners have to recognize.

AtHomeGym
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rsyrkos & stormwater

In an 8 page opinion, a Federal District Judge in VA ruled last week that the EPA erred in atempting to classify rainwater as a pollutant and that they could not use stormwater runoff as a means to enforce the Clean Water Act--just as originally reported here by S. Lindsey on Friday. Would seem to me that ruling nullifies the local stormwater ordinance, though I don't know exactly how it is worded. Regardless, I believe we will see the Board of Commissioners act soon on this issue. And the implied threat to take legal action if you don't pay the fee is no way for a county employee to correspond with citizens!

SPQR
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appeal

I appealed in PTC at the amount charged and proved their calculations were incorrect. The city reduced the fee.

S. Lindsey
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Federal Judge rules EPA overstepped in Rain as a Pollutant

The EPA ruling that Rain Water runoff aka Storm Water pollution has been overturned in Virginia.

The Federal Judge ruled that the EPA overstepped it boundaries by trying to regulate Storm Water as a Pollutant and has reversed that regulation.

Are you listening Fayette County Commissioners?

stranger than f...
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Get a grip!

What is all the hubbub about? My storm water tax was only $21.00. This is pocket change to the average Fayette County resident. It's like the T-SPLOST last summer. The average tax was about $140 a year, and many of us pay that much each MONTH to our homeowners association to beautify the neighborhood.

This is another tempest in a tea (party) pot. Please don't mistake it for a real issue.

Spyglass
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I tend to agree

Seems much to do about nothing....

Now go protest over the $21 bucks you must pay to fix the rotting infrastructure......got it? :)

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Tax

Do you understand that they calculated the tax I owe based on the sq footage of impervious furface they CLAIM I have---NOT on what happens to the water that runs off those surfaces! In other words, I get taxed for the fact that I have a roof and a driveway and some sidewalks---NOT in any way related to what danger they may or may not present when it rains!

Spyglass
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Yeah I know how they figure it..

It's all about having monies to fix neglected items. They can call it whatever they want....I pay the same thing in PTC....

AtHomeGym
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STF & Stormwater Tax

Think you're the one who needs to get a grip. It's not the amt but the principle & method used to levy a tax based on incorrect & incomplete information. Is that too hard to comprehend? How about "intrusive & inept govt"--got that?

stranger than f...
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Then go for it Athomegym

If 30 bucks for county infrastructure constitutes a "principle" for you, then by all means go for it. Curse the county government, reign down the fires of hell on all elected officials, and plead excessive and coercive abusive treatment by the evil powers of Fayette County.

Just don't be surprised if you lose your credibility for spending political capital on a virtual non-issue.

AtHomeGym
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STF & Political capital

Don't have any capital to spend or credibility to lose!

stranger than f...
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Then really go for it Athomegym

Then you've made your choice. Go for it!

NUK_1
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AHG: Stormwater

FC is under the same mandates as every other municipality in the USA to address and take what is almost always likely corrective actions($$$) on the issue. I will say that they really botched the process and the methodology is suspect too, but that's the fault of the past commissioners who didn't learn a damn thing about to handle this issue years ago. PTC residents have been paying for quite a while and there was no mass uproar over it here.

If you can add an additional tax in PTC and explain why it's necessary and people accept it without having heart attacks, it shows how stupidly this was handled/ignored at the county level.

It's a shame that it is now a HUGE deal in FC when it never should have been in the first place had it been addressed appropriately a while back. What's worse is that some of what is being lumped into "stormwater" is in fact a decaying infrastructure that needed a lot of repair/replacement regardless of any stormwater mandates in the first place. It's not just the Feds/Clean Water Act in FC....this has been an issue way before.

Good luck to our new FC commissioners because you've going to have a lot of tirades about having to spend money to fix neglected problems of the past.

AtHomeGym
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Nuk & Stormwater

You're right--as you usally are. A new tax on citizens is no excuse for ignoring problems that needed to be fixed--regardless. And in fact, was a designated function of the Road Dept, FC Public Works--but they didn't get either the budgeting or repair work done--FOR YEARS! Thank you Lee Hearn! There is a possibility they can 'repurpose' some TSPLOST dollars to fix the infrastructure---I know of two petitions being prepared to repeal the Groundwater Ordinance--one by a local citizen and one by a local lawyer, hired by a local merchant. it's gonna be interesting! Oh, of note is the fact that the Atlanta Regional Commision has been involved in this since 2001 and FC helped develop their Management Manual. And they can't lay this at the feet of the Clean Water Act----that has to do primarily with introduction of pollutants into water sources, absolutely nothing to do with rainwater!

Spyglass
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I recall reading about this in Fayette County for a while..

What is the big surprise to everyone? I referenced this above....crickets...

I too live in PTC and I don't recall any uproar here....

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Groundwater

Two different situations: you live in a city with streets & gutters. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac in unincorporated FC. Most of my 6.7 acre property is mature, undisturbed forest. Whatever impervious surfaces I have drain naturally to developed vegatation. There is no runoff frm my property. There is no nearby stream to be possibly polluted. No one has visited my property to establish runoff possibilities or parameters. Dollar amt of the tax has no import--it's method & procedure that's inaccurate and incomplete.

Spyglass
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I agree it's two different situations..

but the fact is the County has kicked the can for years on infrastructure and it has to be addressed. Maybe they should have just raised everyone's county taxes and been done with it.

Money is money and the County doesn't have enough......

BTW, how much did they bill someone with a spread like yours? IF you don't mind asking. I pay $72 bucks in PTC.....

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass and Stormwater

Bill was $25 after a credit for a a 5 Acre lot,but that's not the issue at all.
BTW, I think the current Board of Commisioners are all over this issue--look for change!

Spyglass
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I would not trust this Council

Until I had truly seen them in action.

SB will say whatever he thinks the electorate wants to hear.

And honestly, 6.7 acres and a bill of only $25 bucks, that seems reasonable to me to help fix our county.

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Fee

You don't understand--2/3 of my property is mature, ndisturbed forest, and whatever impervious surfaces I have drain to vegetation, NOT away from the property! Zero pollution to any water source!

S. Lindsey
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Spy.. There is no CAP on this "Not-A-Tax"

Today it is $29.00 my "Fee" btw... for 2 acres of forest .75 of grass .26 of impervious surfaces... and no drains.

Tomorrow it's... well who knows. Government never runs out of your money to spend. Why do we pay all of the property taxes, fuel taxes, sales taxes, fees for this...fees for that?

Spy you might think WTBD? I think enough is enough let's look at where the money they already collect is going first.

When you overspend your budget do you immediately go out and get another job or do you look where you can cut expenses first? So why can't they.

ginga1414
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Collapsing Infrastructure Has To Be Addressed

The fact that a lot of folks didn't know about the new "Rain Tax" doesn't mean that the information has not been published. Citizen Dennis Chase has written many Letters To The Editor concerning the problem.

I have attended 2012 commission meetings where the "Rain Tax" and infrastructure problems were addressed. However, just as previous commissions have done, when the problem began to grow and the money to solve the problems had been spent on other things (West Fayetteville Bypass for example) Herb Frady, Lee Hearn, and Robert Horgan "kicked the problem down the road" to our new 2013 commission.

If I am remembering correctly at one point in 2012 when the "Rain Tax" was discussed during a commission meeting, then Commissioners Brown and McCarty said they should stop construction on the WFB and use the remaining local T-SPLOST money to solve the problem of collapsing roads instead of building new roads. That didn't fly with Frady, Horgan, and Hearn. They liked the Stormwater Utility and "Rain Tax" solution much better.

At last night's packed house swearing-in ceremony for our three new commissioners, new Commission Chairman Steve Brown said that he had returned more than 300 calls from citizens who are roaring mad about the new fee. He said that the new commission will conduct 3 town hall meetings where the citizens will be informed about the severity of the problems, and the citizens will have input as to how we should solve the problems.

So, the information has been out there but quite typically it hasn't been a priority with a lot of folks until now. As taxpayers, we have to stay on top of governmental problems. I learned through my fight with the county over the WFB that none of the governmental problems taxpayers are faced with go away. EVER!! Even though we have some conscientious people in office, we have to have a majority of conscientious people in office. I think we finally have that in Fayette County. However, the inherited problems will have to be solved. No one wants collapsing roads all over the county.

Spyglass
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Anyone who claims they didn't know this was coming..

has flat out not been paying attention.

S. Lindsey
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Fayette County Residents call BS on the Rain TAX

First let me say that process you claim property owners have to dispute the TAX... Doesn't exist. I personally as have many others have gone that route and was told "don't like it call your Commissioner".

S. Lindsey wrote:

Many of you have received the StormWater Runoff Tax in the mail by now... if not give it a day or two.

It's coming...

First this poorly conceived TAX was not communicated to the Citizens and any new taxes should be brought
before us before levied. When I contacted the NEW Office of the Stormwater division I was told that if you don't like it contact your Commissioner.

I was also advised this Tax was levied against us in June but we are just now receiving the bill and an additional Tax will be placed again
in June 2013. After I advised this person that my Rain water exits my property in the creek behind my house and does not even enter
a Stormwater system I was advised that because of the "POLLUTION" of my grass and driveway the EPA has assessed the penalties
because the rain goes into a creek thus I am now a polluter and must pay the Tax.

When I inquired who did the water TCLP (Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure) I was met with silence and when I asked when a homeowner
was required to have a SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) again silence.

So I took his advice and wrote our County Commissioners.

The following is the emails and answers:

S. Lindsey wrote:

To whom it may concern,

Today I discovered that I have been assessed a fee for "Storm Water".

I have been following the debacle in Peachtree City as they assessed their Citizens months ago.

To say the least it is not well received.

I feel like you gave the Citizens of Fayette County NO NOTICE of this fee for a reason. One it would not have been well received

and two many if not most of us have to wonder what our property taxes, personal taxes, County taxes, sales taxes et.al.
really go towards since we are now being accessed another "fee".

I will be contacting as many of Fayette County citizens that I can in order to gather support for a repeal of this fee and failing that voting you out
as soon as elections are held.

WE are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY and do not want or need another tax placed on us by you.

Lee Hearn wrote:
Steve: Please contact Commissioner Steve Brown.... he has promised to fix this....
My term is up Dec 31 sorry not much I can do...
thanks...

Commissioner Steve Browns Response:

Mr. Lindsey,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the new storm water fee.

I voted against the measure for several reasons.
The three member majority (Chairman Frady, Commissioner Hearn and Commissioner Horgan) passed the new fees and were not receptive to suggestions. All three will not be in office by January 2013.

All that being said, we do have a significant problem with our stormwater infrastructure in the unincorporated county and something will ultimately have to be done. Currently, we have tens of millions of dollars worth of dilapidated piping beneath roads and next to roads that has to be replaced.

A few projects had to immediately be funded out of the general fund because the road beds were collapsing on top of the eroded metal pipes which were well beyond their lifespans.

Unfortunately, there was no plan and no funding set aside to replace the infrastructure, ever.
New guidelines have been put in place and we now use long-lasting concrete pipe instead of the metal pipe,but the long replacement list remains.

The ground work for releasing the fee program was poorly orchestrated and many in the public were unaware. There will be a change management style beginning next year.

None of the commissioners as of January 2013 will have voted for the stormwater project. The program will be evaluated and we will ultimately have to step-up and determine how to make the critical repairs which will cost a great deal of money.

S. Lindsey wrote:

Mr. Brown,
I have been fielding calls all day on this from my neighbors. None of which knew about the tax nor are they happy about it.

Almost everyone is so upset they have stated they are not paying the fee.

This was poorly conceived and poorly communicated. One of my neighbors told me she contacted the office and was told they only sent out 50 letters and stopped because of the cost but yet was able to send out billing for this only 7 months late.

Mr. Brown.. I am starting a petition to have this tax suspended at least until this can be properly put before the people of Fayette County and a needs assessment can be obtained.

I request that you place this on the agenda for the next meeting where I will present the petition for the suspension.

Sincerely,

So there it is... If you don't care for the new TAX leave a message here. I will be creating a petition both online and on paper to suspend the Tax until
such time we the Citizens of Fayette County can have the Commissioners explain to us exactly why we have to pay a tax for Rain.

eodnnaenaj1
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Petition

Let me know when and where online petition will be.

Cyclist
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Jane 1

Where have you been!!!!!!!!!!

The Truth Will ...
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Budget 101 - Look who's eating our lunch?

I'm hoping our new commissioners will ask to SEE and AUDIT the CAFR Accounts and can resolve most issues from there. . . .

Answers lie in the CAFR; not the Budget!
CAFR accounts are never discussed - UNTIL NOW! It's the CAFR by J Day.
W Burien/military vet has researched CAFR accounts for the past decade.
youtube.com/watch?v=1pRPBKJQnyU

Taxpayers strike it rich; by F Gamble
youtube.com/watch?v=-Pvr-eN7Eu8&list=PL120C35610F719BCD

moelarrycurly
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The Truth Will...Come Out

Since we now have a new County Manager, Mr. Rapson, who has loads of experience managing, a Commissioner who is a CPA, Mr. Ognio who has run a successful business for years here, Chairman Brown and Commissioner McCarty, who have seen the extent of the no-bid contracts and purchases and other debatable decisions, Commissioner Barlow who is a truth-seeker by his faith, I feel this county will be extremely well represented when it comes to finding what needs to be found.

The issues for them and eventually for the residents and businesses here will be 1) get it out in the open and 2) find the best solutions and 3) suck it up when/if the news gets really bad (as in possible higher taxes, budget cuts and necessary reorganizations).

To do that in a way that is even-tempered and unemotional will be the hardest part. We can only hope the results of what they find are a fraction of the assumptions that some of us have made. However, please let's reserve the right to blog about it here, ooohhhh kaayyy??:)

John Mrosek
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“Stormwater”----- the latest

“Stormwater”----- the latest iteration of the Federal Clean Water Act.

It all started in the late ‘60’s when a river near Cleveland started on fire. Yes, the Cuyahoga River had so much flammable pollutant floating on top of the water that it ignited. National telecasts of the burning river seared an image in the minds of Americans.

Oil was the precious natural resource of the 20th century. Water is now the precious resource of 21st century.

I wrote an Op-Ed piece discussing the background of the Federal Clean Water Act and Stormwater and why this fee structure is practically mandated: http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/john-mrosek/06-07-2011/stormwater-fees-n....

Dennis Chase wrote an Op-Ed piece criticizing how fees are actually implemented:
http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/dennis-chase/06-07-2011/stormwater-fees-.... Actually, Dennis has written several excellent pieces on the subject and knows far more than anyone around here on this subject and environmental subjects in general.

The issue is not what we can choose to do or not do. We have to do something. Let me respond to one comment about the county knowing about these issues for decades (which holds true for most of the cities in Fayette County as well). They all have KNOWN about these expensive federal and state requirements. Surprisingly, we had representatives from Fayette County, Peachtree City and Fayetteville had representatives that helped AUTHOR the Georgia Stormwater requirements. Look at the Georgia Stormwater manual and you will see the names of numerous Fayette County representatives who helped write the requirements. Check out
http://www.atlantaregional.com/environment/georgia-stormwater-manual/.

I didn’t write the law. I just try to follow it. I hope that the county and cities do the same.

AtHomeGym
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Mrosek & Stormwater

OK, so would you now hazard a guess as to what happens next seeing as a Federal Judge has said EPA can't call Stormwater a Pollutant in order to enforce the Clean Water Act?

John Mrosek
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AtHomeGym & Stormwater

I saw your post and was curious but could not find the case. Do you have a case name, number or a news story so I can find the opinion ? Stormwater is clearly defined as part of the Federal Water Pollution Act. You may be referring to the Sackett case in which the Supreme Court questioned the EPA's rule making authority. Provide me a name or a number and I will be happy to look at it. Consider this--- since all streets, roads and other sources of stormwater ultimately dump in to our waterways, they are logically regulated.

AtHomeGym
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Mrosek & Case Number

No, sorry I don't have one. Suit was filed by VA AG and I read about it this morning in the Washington Times.

S. Lindsey
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John...

http://www.allvoices.com/news/13731942-virginia-judge-rules-epa-overstep...

Virginia judge rules EPA overstepped authority trying to regulate water as pollutant

Va. A federal judge has ruled that the Environmental Protection agency exceeded its authority by attempting to regulate stormwater runoff into a Fairfax County creek as a pollutant.

John Mrosek
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Stormwater Case: No Savior for County

The simple answer is that the District Court judge in Fairfax County did not say that the Clean Water Act (or the EPA as federal regulator) does or cannot regulate stormwater. He challenged EPA’s setting of standards for stormwater (“total maximum daily loads”) rather than setting of standards for the pollutants that stormwater carries. In the Virginia case the pollutant complained of was sediment. This has been an issue locally such as in Peachtree City. Too much sediment reduces the oxygen in water thus impairing water quality. EPA tried to regulate the volume of stormwater in to a creek rather than regulating the pollutants that the stormwater carries in to the creek.

I would agree that this is simply the latest case to show that the EPA has overstepped its bounds. Another example was with logging roads. However, the Clean Water Act still imposes requirements on local governments and those requirements are found in the stormwater permits they hold. Bottom line, we still have a lot of work to do.

Finally, I totally agree with the all of the posters that have expressed frustration with our local governments’lack of leadership in dealing with a problem that they have known about for a very long time. And, it is indeed discouraging the poor manner in which they have handled the finances. Anyone wanting a copy of the judge's order, send me an email to john@mroseklaw.com.

AtHomeGym
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John Mrosek & Stormwater Runoff

A question: If the EPA cannot regulate stormwater runoff as a pollutant, pray tell me how the County can assess us a tax based solely on the perceived amt of impervious surface we have on our property--and without proof of any runoff at all?Does this authority come solely from a Commission approved Ordinance? Thanks for your willingness to address this issue.

John Mrosek
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NPDES !

Why are our local governments still subject to federal stormwater control after the Fairfax County case ? The answer is---- NPDES...Yup...another federal acronym which stands for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System; passed by Congress as law. It says that all local governments of a certain size have to have a permit to be able to dump stormwater in to waters of the United States (e.g., Flint River). Peachtree City and Fayette County are included. What happened in Virginia is that the EPA tacked on a requirement for a maximum amount of stormwater that could be dumped. That was out of bounds.

AtHomeGym
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John Mrosek & NPDES

Thanks for your reply but it didn't answer my question at all. Good info but not applicable to the taxing of landowners in unincorporated FC, where a stormwater drainage system is pretty much nonexistent. Basically, we're being taxed for having a roof, driveway,and sidewalks, without ANY proof of runoff. As one who relies on well water, I am glad that all the rainwater remains on my property and eventually will reach the aquifer that serves my well!