ISC considering methods to fund remediation effort

Municipalities mull stormwater fee while applying for various grants

The 10 municipalities re­sponsible for complying with increasingly strict stormwater remediation rules in the urbanized area of central Blair County will eventually need to decide how they’ll fund that effort.

One way to do it is through each municipality’s general fund, said Antis Township Manager Lucas Martsolf at a recent meeting of the Intergov­ernmental Storm­water Com­mittee.

Another is through imposition of a stormwater fee, Martsolf said.

Those fees can be levied on property owners based on various factors, including the amount of impervious area on each, said Jennifer Cotting, interim director of the Environ­men­tal Finance Center at the University of Maryland, who spoke at an ISG meeting.

Martsolf said, in general, he prefers to assign charges where costs originate.

“Cost causers,” said ISC Chairman Tim Brown, Logan Township manager.

Based on a Pollution Re­duction Plan that a consultant produced for the ISG, the municipalities are responsible for eliminating 1.4 million pounds per year of sediment flowing into area streams over the next five years — at a cost of $6.3 million, including administrative expenses, according to a spreadsheet produced by ISC coordinator Chelsey Ergler.

The costs will be distributed among the municipalities according to a formula based on population, miles of impaired streams and impervious area.

The amount due from those totals are weighted toward the middle years: 5 percent for the first year; 29 percent for the second; 41 percent for the third, 23 percent in the fourth and 1 percent for the fifth year.

Those estimated costs pre­sume no grants, al­though the ISC has applied for a National Fish and Wild­life Federation grant of $500,000, a Sunoco Mariner East 2 Pipeline Corridor grant of $282,000 and a Growing Greener grant of $266,000.

One good feature of the situation is that the municipalities will have control of how to raise the funds, Martsolf said.

It might make sense to build up a “war chest” so the higher demands of the middle years are less troublesome, Brown suggested.

“I (plan to be) looking for money to put in my coffers,” Martsolf said.