Bottom line

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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