Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Storm May Rise Over Looming Stormwater Fees

You might say, you could blame it on the rain.

For about a year, the firm of Amec Foster Wheeler has been putting together a look at Pottstown's stormwater situation.

It found 1,700 storm inlets, 90 miles of streets, 49 miles of storm sewer, 6.5 miles of it stone arches and about half a million in costs.

And it found, as is the case in all of the more than 1,200 municipalities in Pennsylvania, a rising liability for those costs as infrastructure ages and federal and state regulations about pollution get more stringent.

There is no question more costs will be incurred as those regulations come into play. The question that remains open is who will pay and how will those payments be calculated.
Nathan Walker makes his presentation to the borough authority

Authority Chairman Tom Carroll advocated for moving ahead, conferring with borough council and get a jump on issues Pottstown will have to face sooner or later.

But Authority Secretary Jeff Chomnuk pointed out that only .5 percent of Pennsylvania municipalities have taken the steps Carroll was advocating and he worried about "imposing another fee on developed property."

Particularly if surround towns have not acted yet, Chomnuk worried it would add to the perception that Pottstown is an expensive place to do business.

Wouldn't it be better, he suggested, until Pottstown was part of a larger movement. Ultimately, that decision will be made by borough council.

Authority solicitor Vincent Pompo noted that developed places like Pottstown have so far been the places where these ideas are now being tried out. He also warned that the state and federal governments have begun to fine localities who are not living up to their new obligations under the new rules.

Here are the Tweets.