County In Talks With WVSA On Stormwater Fee
WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County recently received stormwater fee bills totaling about $192,000 for county-owned properties, county Manager David Pedri said Tuesday.
But there is good news, Pedri said at a county council work session.
The county received a discount of about 40% on the bills because of measures it takes to comply with the state’s municipal separate storm sewer systems program, Pedri said. That brought the total bill down to about $117,000, he said.
Even better news could come soon, according to Pedri.
County officials have met with the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority to discuss an intergovernmental agreement that could save more money for county taxpayers, he said.
The authority, which administers the stormwater fee, is “very interested in working out an agreement,” Pedri said.
The stormwater fee is part of a pollution-control mandate from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for bodies of water that drain into Chesapeake Bay, including the Susquehanna River.
The fee, based on the amount of impervious surface a property contains, is not waived for nonprofits, schools or governmental entities.
Thus the county “is in the same boat” as private property owners, Pedri said.
The county received bills for several properties it owns, with the largest bill applied to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, according to Pedri.
It is not fair for county residents who pay a stormwater fee on their own properties to also ultimately pay a portion of the county’s fee, Pedri said.
“Personally, I can’t see the Luzerne County taxpayer having to pay a stormwater fee on their house and on their government,” he said.
The county’s budget for this year does not include any money set aside to pay stormwater fees, Pedri said.
The county has made the sanitary authority aware of its budgetary concerns, according to Pedri.
“We don’t have $192,000 lying around,” he said.
Pedri said he would keep council members informed of the status of talks with the sanitary authority.
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