Proposed Manchester utility could hit property owners with new fees
And this time, with the Environmental Protection Agency poised to issue more stringent regulations that could result in communities paying millions of dollars more to handle storm runoff, there may be an added incentive for city leaders to adopt it.
Now the proposal is back. It was on a list of a half-dozen ideas for generating new revenue submitted by the Department of Public Works in January, at the request of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
It wasn't devised as a revenue-generating idea but as "a sustainable funding source for our environmental infrastructure," he said.
Cost to property owners
Commercial properties would pay more, based on how much impervious surface area they have that creates runoff, such as large parking lots and roofs.
One looming issue is the EPA's pending release of a new version of what's known as an "MS4" discharge permit for municipal storm sewer systems. When the agency published its draft permit for New Hampshire last year, Manchester joined a coalition of more than 40 southern New Hampshire communities to express their alarm.
At a public hearing a year ago in Portsmouth, Steve Parkinson, that city's public works director, called the requirements in the draft permit "excessively burdensome" and said it would cost Portsmouth $3.5 million over five years to upgrade its systems to comply.
"The way the permit is written now, it would cost the city of Manchester tens of millions of dollars yearly to comply," McNeill said.
The idea has caught on in some New England communities, including Newton and North Reading, Mass.; The committee voted to table the issue, as it has other recent proposals city departments have made to generate new revenue.
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