Howard County to Develop Watershed Protection Fee Assistance
Public hearing to be held on regulations for hardship reductions; bills to non-profits to be delayed.
ELLICOTT CITY, MD -- The Howard County Department of Finance today announced its schedule for developing regulations that will provide hardship assistance to commercial, religious and not-for-profit property owners who will be assessed the Watershed Protection Fee beginning this year.
The Department also announced that Watershed Protection Fund bills for not-for-profit entities will be postponed pending final approval of the hardship regulations.
Under the proposed timeline, the Department will make draft regulations available by June 21. A public hearing on the draft regulations will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, at the George Howard Building (3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City). The proposed regulations will then be submitted to the Howard County Council in late August for introduction at its legislative session on September 3.
Legislation establishing the Watershed Protection Fee (CB 8-2013), which was approved earlier this year, contained hardship provisions for residential properties and called for hardship provisions for non-residential properties to be adopted by regulation.
Under state law, Howard County must begin collection of the Watershed Protection Fee this year. Under a program proposed by the County Administration and adopted by the County Council, Howard County is expected to collect approximately $18 million per year to be used toward infrastructure improvements, stream bank restoration, removal of impervious surfaces and other projects to treat run-off before it enters waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.