News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.
Vote “Yes” on Question J
Stormwater is the single greatest source of water pollution in modern cities like Baltimore, and in this year’s Baltimore City election you can do something to remedy it. Voting “Yes” on Referendum Question J to create a new stormwater utility in Baltimore will make it much easier for us work together and clean up our stormwater.
One of our legislative victories in the Maryland General Assembly this year was the implementation of a new stormwater pollution fee in nine counties and Baltimore City. This modest fee will be based on the amount of paved surface area on each property and will be spent to reduce stormwater pollution and restore our waterways.
One of the largest hurdles to expanding these efforts has been a lack of funds, and this new stormwater fee will enable the City and its partners – like Blue Water Baltimore – to dramatically expand our efforts to reduce stormwater pollution. That means more trees, more rain gardens, less pavement, and important upgrades to our aging infrastructure of pipes, pumps, and treatment centers.
This stormwater fee was mandated by the General Assembly and will take effect in 2013, regardless of whether or not Baltimore City implements a stormwater utility – an action that was also mandated by the General Assembly. So, why is Question J on the ballot?
A “Yes” vote on Question J allows citizens to amend the Baltimore City charter and create a stormwater utility. The creation of this utility is a critical step in reducing pollution here because it will protect the funds from the fee from being “borrowed” for other uses and will help ensure that the funds are used most effectively.
The creation of the utility will not affect the timing of the fee nor increase its size. It will, however, help us guarantee that the money raised by the fee is used to clean up our stormwater. In fact, because of the efficiencies it will allow, it will likely forestall future fee increases. In short, the new storm water will be a huge step forward in our efforts for cleaner water and stronger communities.
So Blue Water Baltimore urges you to vote “Yes” on Question J. Please support this important step toward cleaner water in Baltimore City by voting, and by encouraging your friends and families to do the same.
If you have questions about our support Question J, feel free to ask us using the form below. As always, you can always post questions to our Facebook page and we’ll do our best to answer them there. And the City suggests calling 311 for more information as well.