Board of Public Works approves funding for clean water, Chesapeake Bay

The Garrett County Republican

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved more than $4.7 million in grants to reduce pollution and improve water quality, the Maryland Department of the Environment has announced. Garrett County was awarded $40,000.

According to MDE, grants from the Bay Restoration Fund will provide funding for 18 counties to upgrade on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems and make sewer connections to “significantly” reduce the discharge of nitrogen, one of the most serious pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee To Increase On July 1

Jul. 5, 2012

The Garrett County commissioners are reminding local property owners and visitors about two issues: the increase in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee (“flush tax”) and the new security system at the courthouse.

A change in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee has taken place for the tax year beginning on July 1. Legislation was passed this year in the Maryland General Assembly, doubling the fee from $30 to $60 annually for properties whose on site sewage disposal systems (septic system) are located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and for properties that are connected to either a public water and/or sewer system and whose wastewater is treated by a facility that discharges in the watershed.


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For properties that have a septic system and a private water supply, the fee will be reflected on the owners’ annual property tax bills.

For those properties located within the watershed that are connected to either a public water and/or sewer system, this fee change equates to an increase from $2.50 to $5 per month, or $7.50 per to $15 per quarter. The Bay Restoration Fee will be reflected on the quarterly water/sewer bill for properties connected to a public water and/or sewer system.

“The county has made every possible attempt to accurately assess the correct fees for every Garrett County property tax account,” county administrator Monty Pagenhardt. “If you believe the Bay Restoration Fee that you are billed is in error, please contact the Garrett County Department of Financial Services at 301-334-8985 or by e-mail at bayrestorationfee@garrettcounty.org.

Residents and visitors are also reminded that they must use the Alder Street entrance when conducting business at the county courthouse in Oakland.

A new security system has been installed in the courthouse building, and individuals must pass through security upon entering the building. Handicapped individuals may use the entrance located off the alley between St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and the courthouse.

More here.

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Del. Beitzel Proposes Amendment To "Lock Down" Chesapeake Bay Fund

Jan. 26, 2012

With the likelihood that the General Assembly will be asked to double, triple, or even quadruple fees paid by Maryland’s citizens for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, Del. Wendell Beitzel filed House Bill 121. The bill would amend the Maryland State Constitution to prohibit, or “lock down,” the transfer of funds from the two major sources of revenue for bay cleanup efforts in the state.


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The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund was established in 2004 for the purpose of providing funds for bay cleanup, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, cover crop funds, and septic system upgrades. One of the sources of funding is an annual fee, which has popularly been called the “flush tax.”

“Each year, Maryland’s citizens are required to pay for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay,” Beitzel said. “This bill simply provides that if citizens are told that the fees they are paying are dedicated for bay restoration, then government should be required to use the funds only for this purpose.”

During the 2011 General Assembly session, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget transferred $290 million from the Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays’ 2010 Trust Fund into the state’s general fund. The funds are to be replenished with general obligations bonds, which require additional interest costs and limits the amount of bond funds available for other state capital projects, according to Beitzel.

More here.

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Beitzel bill requires state constitution change

Local delegate’s proposal would keep Chesapeake Bay cleanup funds intact

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Delegate Wendell Beitzel has filed a bill to amend the state constitution to ban the transfer of funds designated for Chesapeake Bay cleanup to other purposes.

“Each year, Maryland’s citizens are required to pay for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. This bill simply provides that if citizens are told that the fees they are paying is dedicated for bay restoration, then government should be required to use the funds only for this purpose,” Beitzel said Thursday.

There are proposals on the table to increase the state’s so-called flush tax, an annual fee toward bay cleanup.

The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund was established in 2004 for the purpose of providing funds for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, cover crop funds and septic system upgrades, Beitzel said.

“The stated needs for Bay restoration far exceed available funding and to raid the dedicated funding programs for other purposes is deplorable. These actions are a fundamental cause for the recommendation to double, triple or even quadruple the ‘flush tax.’ Now, the citizens of Maryland are now expected to pay more to remedy the situation,” Beitzel said in a press release.

During the 2011 session, Gov. O’Malley’s budget transferred $290 million from the Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund into the general fund, Beitzel said. Beitzel represents all of Garrett County and a portion of Allegany County.

A companion piece of legislation has also been filed by Sen. John Astle, D-Anne Arundel. Beitzel and Astle are also co-chairs of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Delegate Kevin Kelly is a co-sponsor to a similar bill, HB 23, which would ban transfers from dedicated state funds to the General Fund except in limited circumstances. Both bills would need to pass a referendum to amend the state constitution. Kelly represents Allegany County and portions of Cumberland and other municipalities in the county.

At the same time, counties are working to comply with bay cleanup efforts. The Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans submitted to the EPA set details on how each jurisdiction will achieve necessary nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reductions by 2025, the target date set by the EPA.

Late last week, Maryland filed a plan to clean up the state’s water and the Chesapeake Bay with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Allegany County submitted its plan in November.

Angie Patterson, a land use and planning engineer in the Department of Community Services, is in charge of coordinating Allegany County’s response to and implementation of the total daily maximum load (TMDL) requirements issued by the EPA and Maryland Department of the Environment. She works on a 20-member committee, including county and municipal officials along with other members.

TMDLs are “an estimate of the maximum amount of an impairing substance or stressor (pollutant) that a water body can assimilate without violating water quality standards,” according to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Those numbers are being used to calculate the amount each county contributes to the pollutants entering the bay and provide a target number of how much the county must reduce its pollutant output.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

877-563-5350 – toll free