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Springetts officials scrap water quality fee

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Chesapeake Bay Foundation PA Executive Director Harry Campbell advocates for science as a catalyst for environmental health.

Springettsbury Township will not be funding its Water Quality Management Program from a proposed fee paid by property owners, officials said. 

Earlier last year, officials mulled implementing a $45 annual fee for property owners to fund the mandated project from the state.

However, officials announced Tuesday, Jan. 14, that the township will be taking money from its budget reserves to fund the project instead, said Township Manager Ben Marchant.

"(The Board of Supervisors) wanted to be good stewards to the taxpayers, residents and property owners of the township by not imposing a fee," Marchant said. 

In October, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve a $1.9 million contract with AKRF Inc. for stream bank restoration and stabilization to reduce sediment deposits by 697,000 pounds. 

Chesapeake Bay Foundation intern Myrannda Kleckner collects a water sample at Willow Mill Park on the Conodoguinet Creek in Cumberland County this summer. CBF’s study of polluted runoff found elevated levels of bacteria in some southcentral Pennsylvania waterways.

The sediment deposit reductions program, which addresses municipal separate storm sewer systems, or MS4s, was introduced as a requirement for small municipalities by the state Department of Environmental Protection under the Clean Water Act.

Springettsbury officials initially estimated it would cost $6 million to fund the project. 

"Without any funding from the EPA or DEP to help pay for this extraordinary expense, the township explored the feasibility of a fee-based program to generate the money to pay for it," said Marchant. "Fortunately, the township received a very competitive proposal from a private contractor."

Springettsbury has approximately $5.3 million in its reserves. 

Though residents will not be paying a fee in the current permit cycle, Marchant said he's unsure of how the Board of Supervisors will plan to fund the program after 2022.

Funding for the program after 2022 could come from several sources, Marchant said, and "may or may not include a fee to township property owners."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.