The Howell Township in New Jersey tables resolution opposing permitted storm water utility
In Howell Township, N.J., members of the Council have tabled a resolution that states their opposition to legislation that was recently signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.
According to centraljersey.com, on March 18, Murphy signed S-1073, the “Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act,” into law. Those who oppose the law have dubbed the legislation a “rain tax.” The law permits a municipality to establish a storm water utility for the purposes of acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and operating a storm water management system.
According to the resolution, under the law, a municipality that establishes a storm water utility is authorized to charge and collect “reasonable fees and other charges to recover the storm water utility’s costs for storm water management.”
The fees and other charges are to be collected from the owner or occupant of any property from which storm water runoff originates and which enters the storm water management system or the waters of the state, according to centraljersey.com.
A municipality that collects fees is required to remit to the state treasurer annually an amount equal to 5% of all fees or other charges or $50,000, whichever is less, to be deposited into the “Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Fund” which was established by the legislation, according to the resolution.
Council members voted four to one following a discussion to table the resolution opposing the state law and to permit the members of the Howell Environmental Commission and the Planning Board to review the document.
“The citizens of Howell are already under a burden due to the various taxes and fees imposed by federal, state and local governments, and although the Township Council supports environmental causes and concerns, it does not wish to add to the burden of its citizen taxpayers by establishing a storm water utility and charging the permitted fees,” the resolution states.
Joan Osborne, who chairs the Environmental Commission, said residents who may be interested in the council’s action did not have sufficient notice the resolution would be on the agenda.
Osborne said that last summer, residents in Howell’s Ramtown section “went through horrible flood damage caused by storm water.”