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Residents May Soon Pay Fee To Improve Drainage Systems

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — To save the bay, pay a fee. Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that lets local governments collect a fee to improve drainage systems.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains there are other clean water proposals in the mix.

Troubled waters. The health of the Chesapeake Bay and the assurance of clean drinking water took center stage in Annapolis Wednesday. About 100 people held a colorful, yet pointed, rally in favor of flush taxes, storm water drainage fees and septic controls, all in play in the General Assembly this session.

“I have two grandchildren and I want them to grow up and be able to swim and fish and just enjoy clean water,” said Heather Tuckfield, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“It’s in my blood. It’s in my veins,” said Tom Lee.

A modified version of the governor’s septic bill passed the Senate and is now in the House.

“The septic bill is some evidence of the growing and deepening consciousness in our state and therefore among the members of the General Assembly. Two years ago, not many people would have given that a shot at passage,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

A House bill to help clean out the bay by raising the flush tax is out of the House and in the Senate. A bill requiring local governments to collect a fee to treat storm water runoff has passed from the House to the Senate.

“The cost is in not preserving and protecting the land,” said Mike Miller, Senate President.

Clean water and a healthy bay may come at a price but supporters say what better thing can you put your money into?

Some lawmakers question whether this is the right time to raise additional fees since the General Assembly is already considering an income tax and gas tax increase.

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