The Maryland Chamber is working to amend legislation increasing Bay Restoration Fund fees to moderate the potential negative impact it could have on some businesses.
The bill would:
- Increase the fee from $2.50 to $5 per month for those receiving an individual water or sewer bill from a billing authority without a water usage-based billing system;
- Increases the fee from $30 to $60 per year for each user of an on-site sewage disposal (septic) system or sewage holding tank that does not receive a water bill; and
- Replace the current flat fee of $2.50 per month for residential users receiving a usage-based water or sewer bill, with a new fee based on water usage, which is $0.90 per 1,000 gallons per month for the first 2,000 gallons, and $1.25 for each additional 1,000 gallons used per month.
The Fiscal Note prepared by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services states that “many small businesses will pay an increase of more than 250% in bay restoration fees, which may represent a meaningful adverse impact on at least some small businesses, particularly those engaged in operations that require significant water usage.”
While the Maryland Chamber supports and recognizes the need for additional revenue to clean up the bay and upgrade the state’s wastewater treatment plants, Maryland Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Allyson Black urged lawmakers to adjust the increases to make them more equitable to commercial users.