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.