AP NEWS

W-B Mayor Seeks Federal Help For Stormwater Fee

March 2, 2019

Wilkes-Barre City is asking the federal government to help ease the burden placed on residents due to the new stormwater management fee.

So is the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority, the local agency which is administering the fee on behalf of 32 area municipalities.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George on Friday sent a letter to President Donald Trump, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright, D-8, Moosic, and Dan Meuser, R-9, Dallas.

“As many media reports have shown, residents became distraught when they received their stormwater bills,” George wrote. “My staff received numerous phone calls and messages from our distressed residents who cannot afford this new fee.”

All municipalities that contribute to the Chesapeake Bay watershed are being tasked with improving stormwater management due to a federal mandate to decrease pollutants. The new fee is being administered by the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. The average property owner is being charged $60 per year. Owners of larger properties pay a higher fee.

The sanitary authority, which has faced criticism from residents about the fee, is also asking for help from Meuser.

In a recent letter to Meuser, the sanitary authority asked the congressman for help in reviewing pollution control projects that could reduce costs and for assistance in obtaining federal funding to help reduce the financial burden on residents.

The sanitary authority noted the fee structure it came up with is lower than in other areas, but it “nevertheless places a substantial financial burden on many in our region.”

In his letter to Trump and others, George said local residents are being punished based on an unfunded federal mandate.

“This is not a city or state crisis, it is a federal crisis, as the Chesapeake Bay is one of our nation’s most critical waterways,” George wrote. “I ask for your help in alleviating the burden placed on our taxpayers.”

Contract the writer:

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2055, @cvbobkal