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Augusta officials are pushing a new stormwater “fee,” which would essentially tax property owners for rain runoff.

Because it taxes owners based upon square footage of surfaces impervious to water – i.e., rooftops, driveways and parking lots – it works like a property tax. But because it’s considered a utility “fee,” it would be assessed against even churches and schools, which are currently exempt from property taxes.

That alone is of great concern.

But then you look at how the city’s annual estimated $10 million stormwater booty would be spent, as summarized in a recent Chronicle news story:

“The fee will fund a stormwater implementation team that includes nine engineering consultants, a public relations consultant and others, according to (Engineering Director Abie) Ladson’s presentation. The fee will help in cataloging infrastructure and go toward maintaining about 730 detention ponds that dot the city. The ponds retain less water when overgrown with vegetation.”

That’s what we need. A new $10 million tax, including on churches and schools, to buy some consultants and public relations flacks.

Count us unimpressed.

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shrimp for breakfast
shrimp for breakfast 10/13/12 - 03:48 am

But when church leaders are telling their flock who to vote for I believe this makes them taxable.

Riverman1 10/13/12 - 07:27 am
Stormwater Tax Ends Up Where?

Why do I get the feeling money obtained from a stormwater tax will end up buying pots and pans for the Marriott TEE Center kitchen or something?

omnomnom 10/13/12 - 07:26 am
Seriously, go ahead and tax

Seriously, go ahead and tax churches all the way. Ya'll render unto Caesar now, ya heah?

I'd be more impressed with the commission or Augusta in general if they would look to solutions that aren't just 'hike taxes'...

this fee takes nothing regarding landscaping or xeroscaping or collecting water in barrels, all activities which greatly reduce runoff.

no, lets not target the cause of the problem. lets add a tax and call it fixed.

soapy_725 10/13/12 - 09:14 am
The majority of storm water run off

comes from roads, highways, interstate, parking lots, insufficient engineering and planning by building contractors. There is not way for the storm water to reach the Savannah River because the government does not require construction projects to fund same.

Out dated sewers are the result of politicians spending budgeted maintenance funds on golf courses, entertainment venues and cathedrals built to honor themselves. And an absentee engineering department and code enforcement.

Sixty years I have personally seen it flood at Walton Way and 13th St. And this was not a hurricane of stalled front. LOL You could have a water slide down Walton Way, Wrightsboro, Central, etc. many a politician has vowed to fix the flooding. Along with the RR tracks.

There is a book in the "so called engineers" office that will tell him exactly how much water one inch of rain accumulates on one square foot of asphalt/concrete. Where will it go? DOWNHILL. Unless you pump it UPHILL. But bureaucrats don't read, do they. Some cannot articulate English.

This fee will be stolen from whatever fund or trust is established. If there is any money after the salaries are paid for administration.

dichotomy 10/13/12 - 09:25 am
This is all bull and they

This is all bull and they know it. Residential structures and private driveways are NOT the problem. We all know that the primary stormwater drainage problems are caused by shopping center and other large parking lots. The problems with the old drain pipes are because our leaders have failed to do their jobs of maintaining and upgrading the system for decades. They squandered the money on downtown eyewash projects while the infrastructure was crumbling. Now they want you to think that the water coming off of your home's roof is causing flooding and that you should be penalized with another tax to pay for their failure to do their jobs and their pee poor planning when approving shopping center parking lots.

Folks, we ALREADY PAY THEM to do drainage projects. They have been blowing our money on downtown eyewash projects. They continue to take our tax money and then tell us "oh, you want normal county services? You will have to pay an EXTRA tax or fee to get that."

Ask yourself what the hell are we already paying them thousands of dollars a year in taxes for if they cannot provide the most basic, fundamental services?

In most REAL municipalities you pay a property tax and you get fire, police, garbage, roads, sewers, drains, etc.. In AUGUSTA you pay your property tax you get ANOTHER tax for fire protection, another FEE (TAX) for garbage service, ANOTHER FEE for sewers, and NOW ANOTHER TAX for........DITCHES if you happen to be "south of Spirit Creek" or thereabouts. They are taking your PROPERTY TAX and are now charging you extra TAXES AND FEES for actually doing something. And if you are "south of Spirit Creek" they are going to take you money and STILL NOT DO ANYTHING.

socks99 10/13/12 - 05:23 pm
Obviously, reclassifying a

Obviously, reclassifying a "tax" as a fee allows the government to get around previous strictures on taxing "tax exempt" properties; if this "ruse" as public policy is not enough to get citizens attention, then consider this:

Most GA counties do not assess the fee, but comply with Federal storm water mandates via the property tax; in the counties that do (small but growing!) assess the fee, the spending per capita in advance of the federal mandates is much, much higher than in counties where the property tax pays for improvements;

You see, when the clever government technocrats can fool citizens into calling a tax a "fee," they are ever ready in all sorts of self-serving, wacky ways to spend the new booty!

Not only should Augusta reject the fee, they should chase from office all those advocates and supporters of the fee.

CobaltGeorge 10/13/12 - 07:46 pm
Sure Glad

I don't live in Richmond County. My condolences to you all.

KSL 10/13/12 - 09:40 pm
Actually roofs and driveways

Actually roofs and driveways do cause problems, dichotomy according to regulations in place that come all the way down from the Feds.

Don't blame the locals. It is all about federal mandates passed on to the states. UNFUNDED FEDERAL MANDATES.

KSL 10/13/12 - 09:47 pm
Right now my husband is

Right now my husband is dealing with designing a subdivision in rural Aiken Co. Trying not to have a detention pond.

KSL 10/13/12 - 09:51 pm

Make that in caps again.

itsanotherday1 10/13/12 - 10:38 pm
KSL, NEW roofs and driveways

KSL, NEW roofs and driveways are at the root of the problem. Dichotomy is correct in that taxes paid in the past were paid to take care of that infrastructure for managing storm water. There may be a small justification due to increased federal requirements; but new runoff issues (like Raes Creek for example), are caused by new development, not the established neighborhoods that have been there for years. Those new developments should be footing the bill for increased runoff management expense, not the folks who have already paid thousands upon thousands over the years already.
In my view a stormwater fee on those people would be analogous to a new subdivision getting built behind my neighborhood, then them asking my subdivision to help pay for their water drainage system.

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