July 3, 2012

Portland council OKs charging fees for runoff

Along with sewer bill increases, the fees will pay for city wastewater system improvements.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

"That won't prevent us from looking for legislative solutions in January," Brennan said.

Supporters of the proposal, including Friends of Casco Bay and the League of Young Voters, argued the fee was the most equitable way to distribute the financial burden.

Councilor Ed Suslovic said the task force chose not to fund the projects through the existing sewer fee because it's based on water usage and would not equally share the burden with parking lot owners and car dealerships, which produce a considerable amount of runoff but don't necessarily use much water.

Property tax increases were also ruled out because the city has so many nonprofit property owners, which don't pay property taxes, said Suslovic.

Residents said they were concerned about their sewer bills increasing to an average of $850 a year over the first five years.

While a greater reliance on the storm-water fee rather than sewer fees would reduce the impact on homeowners, Suslovic noted, Portland's storm-water fee would likely be among the highest in the nation.

"We feel we've gone as high as we can and still be in a legally defensible position," said Suslovic. "We felt the 50-50 (split between sewer and storm water) was the fairest way to go."

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)