Panel will examine Commonwealth’s obligation to pay stormwater fees, which it is refusing to do, passing the burden to city residents, businesses
Capital Region Water Chief Executive Officer Charlotte Katzenmoyer and Board Chairman Marc Kurowski, P.E., will testify before the state Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25 in Room 8-EB in the East Wing of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.
Capital Region Water will be the first of several authorities and organizations to testify before the panel, which is examining challenges with stormwater implementation across Pennsylvania.
In June 2019, as part of its City Beautiful H2O Program, Capital Region Water proposed a Stormwater Fee Proposal and Implementation Plan to meet federal and state clean water requirements. After three formal public hearings, dozens of community meetings and forums, and meetings with some of the largest and most affected property owners, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Capital Region Water enacted a new stormwater fee that took effect Oct. 1, 2020.
Unlike most municipal authorities, Capital Region Water faces a unique challenge because of all the state properties within its jurisdiction, and because roughly one in three residents lives below the poverty rate. Right now, however, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is refusing to pay stormwater fees assessed on its 22 accounts totaling nearly 5.4 million square feet of impervious area within CRW’s jurisdiction, meaning city residents and businesses have to make up the difference to ensure necessary capital improvement projects are funded.
Since its inception in 2013, Capital Region Water has invested more than $170 million to improve water and wastewater infrastructure and address a backlog of deferred maintenance projects that stretches back decades. But, because of the age and design of the city’s infrastructure — coupled with decades of deferred maintenance — managing stormwater remains one of Capital Region Water’s biggest challenges. Adequate funding is crucial.
Capital Region Water’s stormwater fee will raise about $5.3 million annually in dedicated funds specifically for stormwater upgrades and operations — but only if all ratepayers, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, fulfill their obligation.
The committee meeting will be streamed live at https://environmental.pasenategop.com/.