Bangor residents promise action over coming storm water fees

5:41 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Tensions are mounting over new 'storm water fees' that people who own property in Bangor will start having to pay in April. Beginning then, property owners in the Queen City will have to pay an annual rate for the rain water that runs off their property from surfaces such as driveways, roofs and walkways.

City councilors approved Bangor's storm water ordinance last year. Officials say the move is necessary to raise funds that will go towards reducing pollution in six 'impaired' streams that run through parts of the city. They say most of the pollution in those streams has been caused by surface runoff, which is when rain water gathers oils and minerals from surfaces as it flows into a stream.

Already several Bangor residents say they want to strike down the ordinance or have it go to city voters in a referendum. City officials were clear in their response however saying if the city does not start work to clean up certain streams, it could pose a bigger cost to taxpayers in the long run.

"We know that the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state department of environmental protection...if we don't do anything...they'll come down," said assistant city solicitor Paul Nicklas, "they'll tell us how to do it through the various regulations they the idea behind the utility is to give us enough money to meet those requirements and to do it on our terms."

Here are some points of the new storm water ordinance:

- Beginning in April, the average homeowner in Bangor will pay a yearly storm water fee of $22. That will cover property with 3,000 square feet of surface that is impervious to water {i.e. it doesn't allow water to pass through}. Examples can include your driveway or your roof, etc.

- The city is going to charge an additional $11 more for each 1,000 square feet of additional space you may have {i.e. more than 3,000 square feet}

- If you take steps to curb runoff on your property (i.e. using  rain barrels, rain gardens) your rate for the year could be lower than $22.

- If there's no runoff on your property whatsoever (meaning all rain water seeps into the ground) you won't have to pay anything.

Bangor resident Ken Wicks says he is strongly against the new ordinance. Wicks chose not to speak with NEWS CENTER on camera Thursday but did admit that he and others are working on a campaign to strike it down.


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