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End stormwater fee? What a terrible idea

Posted: September 8, 2012 - 11:01pm

During the recent primaries, the slogan “repeal the stormwater tax” on County Commissioner Charles Allen’s ads was puzzling.

After all, Allen hadn’t raised a peep about it during his first term in office. And as his opponent accurately pointed out, the stormwater utility fee is just that: a fee. Columbia County even has a court ruling affirming it.

Catchy yet meaningless campaign slogans are nothing new. But in this case, Allen’s timing in raising the issue is fortuitous.

We’ve just set a new record for rainfall in August. Just ask residents of some of the flooded subdivisions around Columbia County if they think it’s a good idea to eliminate the small funding mechanism that goes toward alleviating those problems.

Anyone who doubts there are problems just needs to ask the residents of Jones Creek, who are suing Columbia County and several upstream developers for silting up their lake. Or residents of the areas where commissioners just agreed to conduct stormwater studies. Or residents around Point Comfort Road, plagued with runoff from heavy rains.

The stormwater utility fee tacks a few pennies onto water bills of residents of the county’s more-heavily developed areas, raising just under $2 million per year. The only real problem is that there are far more needs than money available to fix them.

Anyone seriously proposing its repeal, without offering a solution to those problems, is all wet.

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Comments (4)


Private property flooding

brought us the first rain tax and will bring us more. Urban sprawl is out of control. Flood zone maps are revised each and everyday as developers control the CC government. CC is one continuous drain field from 400 ft above sea level in Harlem/Grovetown to 150 ft at the Savannah River. All of the taxes in the world cannot change the topography. We rely on "engineers" to decide whether the course of a stream will do damage downstream. The trust factor in CC is zero. Nothing will prevent the sprawl. The citizens of CC will continue to pay for faulty or non existent scientifically based infrastructure. Developers will continue to be allowed to build in the middle of swamps and wetlands. What ever will get housing developed is the priority.


Left Field?

Soapy how is the weather out in left field where you obviously are this morning? It's draining to ready a post where somebody is having dig so hard to make their case when there simply isn't a case. The editorial is right on the money and speaking of money, I proudly pay my storm water fee to help with the flood control projects. Do you?


Point Comfort Cove Visual of Uncontrolled Run-off

I used to make fun of the “rainwater tax” as we laughingly called it until I began to experience the effects of storm water run-off. With the building of Carriage Hills and the neighborhood now under construction on the corner of Point Comfort and Blackstone Camp Rd. I see the damage that is done without adequate measures to control the run-off.

If anyone wants an eye opening visual of what happens with inadequate measures drive down Point Comfort Rd and take a look at Point Comfort Cove on the river. There is a wide peninsula leading from the drain pipes going into the cove that is hundreds of yards long and built up so high, vegetation is starting to take over the cove. Look at the cove and growing peninsula and understand the necessity of the tax and measures to keep the ponds and cove open.

Little Lamb

Point Comfort Cove

Riverman's post points out weaknesses in Columbia County's Engineering program. The county engineers merely rubber stamp the development plans for new subdivisions and shopping centers. They don't do any calculations to check the plans and do not evaluate whether the stormwater systems will actually work during heavy rains.

The stormwater system for the Blackstone Camp and Point Comfort area was totally inappropriate.

The rain tax would not be necessary if the engineering department would stop approving inadequate designs.

The rain tax is shutting the barn door after the livestock has been stolen.