Nov 19, 2019

Pa., Borough Considers Enacting Storm Water Fee

A borough in Pennsylvania is considering enacting a storm water fee that would charge property owners for rainwater runoff, which would be implemented in June 2020.

A borough in Pennsylvania is considering enacting a storm water fee that would charge property owners for rainwater runoff, which would be implemented in June 2020.

Fountain Hill officials are considering enacting a storm water fee that would charge property owners for their rainwater runoff, according to the Morning Call.

The fee must still be approved by the borough’s newly formed water and sewer authority. Fountain Hill would be the smallest municipality in the Lehigh Valley to enact such a fee.

The borough is required to reduce its sediment load by 10%, with a two year deadline to reach this goal. This will take an estimated $750,000 in improvements, according to the Morning Call.

Lehigh Valley’s biggest nonprofit, St. Luke’s University Health Network, owns more than 80% of the tax-exempt land in the borough, according to the Morning Call. This would make the hospital network the largest ratepayer if the fee passes, but it has not yet been determined how much St. Luke’s would owe. 

In the late 1980s, the borough tried to bill St. Lukes for property taxes, but that effort was struck down in court.

Councilwoman Helen Halleman said the fee could be difficult for homeowners to pay and that she has little confidence that the hospital network would actually pay the stormwater fee.

“Don’t hold your breath,” Halleman said. “They have lawyers galore.”

A proposed rate has yet to be set, but $20 per 500 sq ft is a starting point for discussions, reported borough Manager Anthony Branco.

The fee wouldn’t start until June and the expected revenue is not built into the borough’s proposed 2020 budget.

Officials from St. Luke’s have attended a borough meeting in which the fee was discussed, but have not yet publicly commented on the proposal, reported the Morning Call.

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