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It hasn’t been determined how property owners would be billed if the York County Planning Commission is allowed to create a new countywide Stormwater Authority, according to the commission.

A fee would be charged to property owners to provide a “service for handling the stormwater that runs off properties in the county,” commission documents report. 

The idea of creating a York County Stormwater Authority first came up in 2014, Planning Commission Director Felicia Dell explained to attendees Thursday, June 21, at the first of three information sessions the commission is hosting.

More: Public sessions to focus on flooding, pollution in York County

The authority has to be approved by the York County Board of Commissioners, she said.

“We want to make sure we can do what we can to clean up the waterways our way instead of having state and federal regulators come in and tell us how to do it” Dell said.

Costs associated with stormwater pollution and flooding are anticipated to increase, she explained.

“We’re really trying to work collectively to solve the problems ourselves,” Dell said. “We feel that we know our area the best. We feel that we can come up with the cost-effective solutions for our area. The only problem is, we don’t have everyone working together.”

Dell spoke about the York County Stormwater Consortium, which is made up of 42 different municipalities pooling $12 million over a five-year period to clean up sediment, phosphorous and nitrogen from local waterways feeding into the Chesapeake Bay.

Opinions varied on how to approach regulations, such as whether the authority should try to get ahead of state and federal regulations or wait to see what is required.

“I’m in the middle,” said Dillsburg resident Holly Kelley.

Kelley said she wants to make sure the county doesn't have to significantly change the project after taxpayers’ dollars are committed.

According to the commission, “if the county used property taxes for this purpose, fees would be unfairly distributed between residences, businesses and farms."

"This is because property taxes are assessed based on the value of the property," the commission stated in its document. "The flood and pollution control fee will be calculated based on how much stormwater each property sends into streams.”

Lower Chanceford Township Supervisor Gilbert Malone said his municipality is “extremely opposed” to any authority that would “force them into adopting” a uniform approach to solve problems because it “erodes municipal control.”

Approximately 1,100 miles of York County streams have been identified as not meeting mandated environmental standards, according to the commission.

There also are 215 locations on county roads that have “experienced frequent flooding problems,” the commission said in its statement. 

For more information on storm water and upcoming meetings scheduled Sept. 25 and Nov. 8, residents can go to www.yorkstormwater.com.

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