Single Family Property

I. Overview

In 2012, the Maryland Legislature passed a law mandating that the 10 largest jurisdictions in the state, including Baltimore City, establish a Maryland stormwater fee. The fee will provide a sustainable, dedicated revenue source for maintaining, operating, and improving the City’s stormwater management system, with the ultimate goal of reducing flooding and erosion, and keeping our waterways cleaner.
The City’s stormwater fees are based on the amount of impervious area on a property. Impervious surfaces, like sidewalks and driveways, block water from infiltrating the ground. They cause increased runoff, overload the drainage system, and transport pollutants and nutrients to bodies of water. Maintaining the stormwater management system and reducing the nutrients and other pollutants are the primary expenses of the program.

This document is based on the “Rules and Regulations” for Stormwater Utility which is available on cleanwaterbaltimore.org.

II.Fee Calculation

Single family properties (SFPs) are charged one of three flat fees, based on the amount of impervious area on the property.

SFP-Three-Tiers

III. Credits Available

Single family property customers are able to reduce their fees through credits. A credit is a reduction in a stormwater service charge that is granted to a customer for measures that reduce demand upon the City’s drainage system or reduce the City’s cost of stormwater management.

The purpose of establishing a stormwater service charge credit program is to provide a way for ratepayers to reduce their fees, and an incentive for them to implement stormwater management measures. A credit system aims to protect water quality, create equity in the payment system, reduce public expenditures on stormwater management, and promote private sector stormwater management. For details on senior and low income credits please visit cleanwaterbaltimore.org or call the Customer Support and Services Division
at (410) 396-5398.

The following chart is a quick guide to customers’ eligibility for credits

 

SFP_Chart_1

A. Participation
Single family property customers are eligible for credit based on participation in a public project within the City specifically targeted at improving water quality, such as trash clean-up, tree planting, and de-paving. These activities provide direct water quality benefits and increase awareness, while providing some job skill training.

Customers seeking participation credit should be aware of the following parameters.

  • For every 8 hours, you can get a credit of $10/year for a maximum of $30 within a 12-month time frame.
    • Residents that exceed the $30/year maximum can gift the credit to another property.
  • Multiple residents of the same SFP may all receive participation credit towards their stormwater remediation fee, up to the 24-hour maximum.
  • The credit for a customer’s participation in an event may only be applied to one property.
  • The credit is good for 12 months. Only events in which the organizers have received certification from the City are eligible for participation credits.
Customers may receive credit for installing and maintaining stormwater treatment practices that limit nutrient loading and decrease the quantity of stormwater entering the City’s drainage system. Single family property customers can take advantage of simple structural Best Management Practice options as well as more sophisticated structures.These practices are eligible for stormwater fee credit:
Rain_Garden_Tree_Planting
 SFP_Rainwater_Harvesting
B. Other Residential Best Management PracticesCustomers may also receive credit for installing and maintaining other, more sophisticated on-site Best Management Practices that limit nutrient loading and decrease the quantity of water entering the City’s stormwater system. Each will be subject to an inspection via a simple Right of Entry agreement, and must meet the standards outlined in the Maryland Stormwater Design Manual. In addition, technical review of the application by the City is required. The maximum credit is 45% of the stormwater fee for treatment of all of a parcel’s impervious area.IV. Application Process

Customers are able to reduce their base fees through a number of legislated fee reductions and credits. All reductions must be applied for and are good for the renewal period. The following flow chart is a quick guide to customers’ eligibility for various credits or fee reductions.A.  How to Apply

Applications and this guidance document are available at www.cleanwaterbalitmore.org and at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, or by calling the Customer Support and Services Division at (410) 396-5398. Applications and supporting materials should be submitted to the Bureau of Water and Wastewater at the addresses below, or faxed to (410) 396-5531.Bureau of Water and Wastewater
Abel Wolman Municipal Building
200 Holliday Street, Room 404Attn: Stormwater Supervisor
Baltimore, MD 21202or

publicworks@baltimorecity.gov
Include “STORMWATER CREDIT APPLICATION” in email subject line

Customers will receive a letter when their application materials have been received and are under review. After the review, another letter will follow with the application decision. At any time, customers may call the Department’s Customer Support and Services Division at (410) 396-5398.

The customer is still obligated to pay the full fee during the credit application review.

B. Timing of Review
Credit applications are to be reviewed and decided within 30 days of receipt of a complete application package. Participation, simple residential treatment practices, small development, vacant lot, and other simple credits or fee reductions may be complete in a shorter time frame. When a 30 day review period would have allowed a property to receive credit or a fee reduction on a subsequent quarterly bill and the Department is unable to complete the review within that period, the credit will be applied retroactively for any quarters that are billed after the 30 day review period.

C. Appeals

If a customer applies for credit and it is denied after review, the customer may submit an appeal in writing within 30 days of receiving his decision letter. Send the letter to the Bureau of Water and Wastewater to the mailing address, email address, or fax number listed above. The letter must contain:

  • The customer’s name;
  • Account number;
  • Basis of appeal; and
  • Evidence to support the customer’s contention, such as:
    • Measurements from an approved as-built engineering drawing;
    • A land survey that shows the total parcel area and the impervious area;
    • Proof of ownership or proof of sale; or
    • Other reliable documentation that proves the customer’s contention.

The Director of Public Works is the final authority for the Department on all appeals. If the customer is aggrieved by the Director’s final decision on an appeal, the customer may seek review by the Board of Municipal Zoning Appeals (BMZA) according to that entity’s appeals process. Finally, he may seek judicial review of that decision in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.

D. Credit Renewal Process

 1.     Notification
Stormwater customers are responsible for maintaining an active credit status. If the renewal application is not received within 30 days before the end of the credit period, the credit may not be reflected on the subsequent water bill.

2.     How to Renew
For each credit or fee reduction type, the application for renewals is the same form as the initial application. Please include the original documentation as well as documentation describing maintenance where applicable.

3.     Timing of Renewal
No credit will be provided in perpetuity. Approval periods are established for each credit type to encourage maintenance of the practice and verify that the practice provides the intended water quality treatment. Approval periods are listed in Table 1 (above) for each of the credit types. Credit may be rescinded within the approval period based on Department inspection. The Department will notify the customer by mail of any decisions to rescind the credit within the approval period.

E. Transference of Credit

Once credits or fee reductions are established, they become a characteristic of the property, rather than the customer. If a property changes ownership in the middle of its approval period, the new owner will inherit the active credit status, receive a discounted bill for the remainder of the approval period, and receive a notification letter about credit renewal. Credits will not be transferred with the customer (including Participation credits).

F.  Application

Refer to this guidance document for information on the required documents that should be submitted with your application. Please retain the following Single Family Property Credit Application for future use.

For more information, call 410-396-5398 or email publicworks@baltimorecity.gov.

FACTSHEET CREDIT APPLICATION
Single Family Guidance Document