Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rockville stormwater fee squeezing non-profits

Rockville non-profits who own their properties are being hurt by the City's stormwater management fee. Churches and other organizations have faced a similar issue statewide, under Maryland's "rain tax." Large church parking lots can draw a big charge, sometimes more than a congregation can afford to pay.

Mary Caroline Colletti said her church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, is one of them. The congregation received a $4000 stormwater fee bill from the City last year alone, Colletti told the Mayor and Council at their Monday night meeting. 

"We’re being charged just like a business," Colletti said. "It’s not a business. We can’t charge to come to our services.” And, unlike a business, a church cannot write off expenses or raise prices. Colletti said the congregation's main revenue source is the collection plate during services.

Colletti noted that the church provides many services within the City, including donating thousands of dollars a year to the Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic. She said the church is also helping the environment by adding solar panels. The current situation is not fair to non-profits who own property, Colletti said, and “I’d just like that to be reviewed.”

1 comment:

  1. A church may not be a business in the traditional sense, but that doesn't exempt a church from following the law. This is not a tax on a product or service. It's a fee meant to help offset the environmental damage that paved surfaces are causing. Churches are already exempt from MOST taxes (including property tax). If a church doesn't receive enough donations to offset its cost of business, maybe it should look for other locations.

    Side note: the Unitarian Rockville property alone is worth over $3.3 Million. I wouldn't call this a "poor little non-profit".