Showing posts with label stormwater fees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stormwater fees. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Burden of Rockville water and sewer fees debated by Mayor & Council

A property owner facing $7000 in water and sewer fees from the City of Rockville even after rebates testified before the Mayor and Council during last night's Community Forum. During an FY-2017 capital budget worksession later in the meeting, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the city's increases in such fees are "unsustainable." Particularly hard-hit, Newton said, are those residents on fixed incomes such as seniors.

Newton has asked City staff to consider the possibility of transferring revenue from a cell tower atop a City water tank to the sewer fund, rather than its current flow into the General Fund. Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said that would not provide sufficient revenue to allow a reduction in fees. Newton said that $50,000 annually adds up to a significant amount over time.

Like the WSSC, Pierzchala said, Rockville is being forced to spend large amounts to update aging water and sewer infrastructure. "It's what we have to pay to have clean, safe water," he said.

A ring that is planned for installation atop the tank will allow for more cell towers to be installed. Acting City Manager Craig Simoneau said that would provide opportunities for additional revenue.

Pierzchala warned that moving the cell tower revenue out of the General Fund would mean taking money from something else in the budget. Newton replied that the difference is there are more sources of revenue for the general fund, while water fees only draw money from ratepayers.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

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.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


David Thomas, a Hungerford resident since 1985, questioned the city of Rockville's record of increasing stormwater fees and property taxes during Monday night's Community Forum. He noted that budget increases average 5% per year, far outstripping the less-than 1% annual increases in population or stormwater system mileage.

Thomas urged the mayor and council to reject the 6% increase in water fees proposed by city staff in the next FY-2015 budget. He said he has already witnessed his stormwater fees double over the last decade.

"What have we in the Hungerford neighborhood received in infrastructure improvements?" Thomas asked, noting that he has only observed routine upgrades and maintenance of the system in his own vicinity.

Thomas said he is concerned that the increasing fees are "making it very difficult for the young to become homeowners and residents in Rockville."