If you don't pay, they'll cut off your rain

"The Richmond Times-Dispatch cheers the city's implementation of a new fee (what you call a tax) on rainwater runoff. The reasoning goes as follows: The fee is based on the amount of impervious surface per property, and the money collected will go to the upkeep of stormwater drop inlets, ditches, catch basins, and so on."
http://tertiumquids.blogspot.com/2009/07/runoff-tax.html
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HeyBub wrote:

I didn't seem to notice your subject line in the article. Did you post the wrong link or did you have a point?
There are only two ways to fund public infrastructure systems. Either everyone gets charged whether they use it or not or users pay their way. You seem to be objecting to the actual users paying?
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George wrote:

Hmm. Let's say I own a 1-acre vacant lot valued by the tax folks at $10,000. Let's further say the annual tax is 5%. I pay, therefore, $500/year taxes on this vacant lot.
Now suppose I convert the entire lot into a shopping center and parking lot. The appraisal folks now value the thing at $1.5 million and I pay $75,000/year in taxes (plus sales tax and employment).
Since the lot can no longer soak up some fraction of the rainfall, I should pay the city when they're already $74,500 to the good?
Police and fire protection, roads, traffic signals, street lights, sewage treatment, and, in my judgement, storm sewers should be part of the general fund expenditures.
The alternative is ala carte payments: Twenty-five cents every time you approach a traffic signal, $100/hour for police calls, $300/man-hour if you have a fire, $85 to fill the pot-hole, or pick up a dead cat, in front of your house, ten dollars to attend a city council meeting, fifty cents when you take a dump (twenty cents if you have a low-flush toilet).
So, what's going to happen with this rainfall foolishness. Walmart's will drill about a billion holes in their parking lot and raise legal hell with the city claiming they HAVE no run-off! Or some business will build retention ponds and pay someone to pump 'em out (like a septic tank) when they get full [this excess water could then be put in railroad tank cars and sold to farmers in southern California].
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Many, if not most places, supposedly worked run-off into the sewers part of the utility bill. It is being taxed on somethign you are already supposedly paying for.
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Thanks for making the real point. I am already paying for sewers, including storm sewers, under my utility bill. They want to add on for a service I am already paying for. I notice that they aren't talking about lowering current rates and then go to the measured service. me
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

I didn't know I made a point. Costs go up for everyone. So they either have a choice to nick everyone more money or just the heavy users.
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To reiterate... "we pay according to use for sewers...". At least in most areas I am familiar with, the payment for sewers includes both storm and sanitary. The sewer is usually (for reasons lost in the sands of time in Indiana) based on your metered water usage. For example, my sewer runs about twice my water bill. Those places that have larger run offs, say malls, also tend to have larger water bills and thus larger sewer-related charges. They are ALREADY paying extra, it should be included in the rates already. If not, then go to where ever you need to go and get the charges put in line. I am guessing that the city wanted to do it this way because they most likely could impose it on their own and not have to justify to some utility commission somewhere. IT would be a double charge.
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The reason our city gave for using this approach was; it is a college town, & much of the tax base is tax exempt. This fee on run off would apply to all users reguardless of tax status. Good thinking in one way, but still a repressive tax on business and land owners alike. I have 2 run off ponds and should be exempt, but as near as I can tell no one has been declared exempt despite a clause allowing this.
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George wrote:

No they don't. An alternative is to cut costs. A simple spreadsheet of costs vs citizens served would give them ample places to cut:
* Psychological testing for possibly depression-afflicted pets. * Commission on standardization of manhole covers. * Midnight SWAT raids on granny-ladies.
The list is almost endless.
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And there lies the rub. When my income is reduced, I reduce my spending. Government on the other hand continues trying to get blood from a stone. Talk about entitlement mentality. Their schemes are doomed to fail, because people are strapped, and will find a way to reduce their tax / fee liability including, but not limited to, moving somewhere with less ambitious politicians.
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George wrote:

But the rich don't send their kids to the government schools, get treated at the county free clinic, spend time in the city jail, collect welfare checks, or do most of the things that the government pays for. Oh the rich do drive on public roads and occasionally have to rely on the local fire department, but, in general, the rich aren't "used to the standard of services."
Now if some want to go to fee-based government funding, then, by rights, the poor end up paying more than the rich simply because they use more of the government's services.
Also, just think on it: why did the suburbs grow? People were tired of the crime, the corruption, the crappy schools, and the taxes in most metropolitan areas. So they created and moved to the 'burbs.
This mentality is easily expressed in the bridge tolls for San Francisco (Golden Gate, Oakland Bay, etc.). There's a toll to drive INTO San Francisco, but it's free to leave.
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HeyBub wrote:

Sure, and lots of cities such as NYC came back strong. It is next to impossible to find a building lot in my area because lots of folks got tired of the "burbs".

Or common sense. Lots of areas toll bridges one way because statistically the great majority of drivers will go both directions.
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George wrote:

Agreed. Most who live in NYC, love to live in NYC. But New York City is a special case, as is San Francisco and maybe Tupelo, Mississippi. The same cannot be said of Detroit or Washington or Oakland or .... Well, you get the idea.
There's even an idea being floated to simply bulldoze up to 40% of Flint, Michigan and turn the area demonstration area for "Life After People". http://motorcitytimes.com/mct/obama-considering-bulldozing-sections-of-flint /

You're right, it does makes sense. But then why are there tolls BOTH ways on roads like the Pennsylvania Turnpike?
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