Don’t Let a Fox into the Council Chamber

Apparently conceding defeat on the repeal of the Watershed Protection Fee, Councilman Fox has pre-filed CB21-2016. The bill is blatant grandstanding. As if he thinks he would get 2 more votes for this bill that wants to express public blame for the who is charging the relatively small Watershed Fee  of $15 or $45 for most homeowners when compared to the total tax bill of $2000 to $6000 to protect our environment.

Apparently, Fox is hoping to bring the lack of civility and conflict found with the Board of Education to the Howard Building.

Imagine it is 2036, the notations required on the tax bill of the numerous attempts to repeal the Watershed Fee attempted by could be quite numerous. And would anyone care 20 years from now that it was Sigaty, Ball, Weinstein and Terrasa? Oh, and based on the current makeup of the Council and County Executive it seems that  paragraph c is written backwards too.

CB21-2016

WHEREAS, in 2013 there was a requirement for a Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee mandated by State Law, and

WHEREAS, based on that mandate, the County Council believed that Howard County real property tax bill should specifically point out that imposition; and

WHEREAS, Council members Courtney Watson and Calvin Ball filed an amendment (Amendment 3 to CB 38-2013) to that effect to place a statement to that effect on the property tax bill as part of the passage of CB 38-2013 that established the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee; and

WHEREAS, the Council vote was four (4) in favor (Ball, Fox, Sigaty and Watson) and one (1) opposed (Terrasa) to pass the amendment; and

WHEREAS, during the 2015 Maryland General Assembly the mandate for the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee was removed; and

WHEREAS, the decision to not repeal the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee was a result of the Howard County Council’s actions related to CB 52-2015; and

WHEREAS, those proudly deciding to maintain the Howard County Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee should have the honor of their names prominently listed as a footnote on the Howard County real property tax bill as the ones causing that imposition.

NOW, THEREFORE,

Section 1. Be It Enacted by the County Council of Howard County, Maryland, that the Howard County Code is amended as follows:

By renumbering:
Title 20. Taxes, Charges and Fees
Subtitle 11. Watershed Protection and Restoration
Section 20.1107. Billing; Method of Collection; Interest and Penalties
Subsections (b), (c), and (d) to be subsections (d), (e), and (f), respectively

By amending:
Title 20. Taxes, Charges and Fees
Subtitle 11. Watershed Protection and Restoration
Section 20.1107. Billing; Method of Collection; Interest and Penalties 6 Subsection (a)

Title 20. Taxes, Charges and Fees

Subtitle 11. Watershed Protection and Restoration

Sec. 20.1107. – Billing; method of collection; interest and penalties.

(a) Billing Procedure. The Department of Finance may include the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee as a separate item on the real property tax bill for each property subject  to the fee.

(b) The real property tax bill shall, IF APPLICABLE, include a footnote on each bill that  indicates that the imposition of a stormwater remediation fee [[is mandated by state law]] CONTINUES DUE TO THE FAILURE OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL TO PASS A BILL FOR SIGNATURE  BY THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE FOR APPROVAL THAT WOULD REPEAL THE FEE DESPITE THE  STATE MANDATE FOR THE FEE HAVING BEEN REMOVED, AND LISTING THE NAMES OF THE  COUNCIL MEMBERS THAT: 1) VOTED AGAINST REPEALING THE FEE, 2) VOTED FOR  AMENDMENTS THAT IN EFFECT RESULT IN THE FEE INCREASING IN ANY WAY OR  CONTINUING BEYOND JUNE 30, 2017; OR 3) WHOSE VOTES OR ACTIONS CAUSED A PROPOSED REPEAL TO FAIL DUE TO A LACK OF TIMELY ACTION, WITHDRAWAL OF THE BILL, OR ANY OTHER LEGISLATIVE PROCESS..

(c) IF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE VETOES A BILL PASSED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL THAT WOULD  REPEAL THE WATERSHED PROTECTION AND RESTORATION FEE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 2017, THE REAL PROPERTY TAX BILL SHALL LIST THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S NAME AS BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE FEE, INSTEAD OF THE NAMES REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION. Contact information for questions and appeals shall be included with the bill’s mailing.

#HOCOPolitics

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