New Fee On All Land Parcels In Vermont Proposed To Fund Water Quality Projects
The head of the Senate Natural Resources committee, Addison Sen. Christopher Bray, is backing a plan to boost funding for water quality projects throughout the state.
The proposal includes a small "per parcel" fee on all property in Vermont but the Scott Administration doesn't support the proposal.
Bray says he's backing this approach because a special gubernatorial task force has failed to make any specific recommendations to address the state's long term needs to fund water quality projects throughout Vermont.
"Now, I think it's time to step up and make the commitment to adequate funding for the long term that we know we need and Vermonters expect us to do better than what they've seen in the last decade," said Bray.
Under Bray's draft plan, all property owners in the state would pay a $1/month fee. Bray says this approach would raise roughly four and half million dollars a year.
"We're really talking a very modest investment but given that clean water is essential to everyone, it is reasonable and responsible of us to say, everybody in everybody pays."
"Now I think it's time to step up and make the commitment to adequate funding for the long term that we know we need and Vermonters expect us to do better than what they've seen in the last decade."— Senate Natural Resources chairman Christopher Bray
Natural Resources Agency Secretary Julie Moore says there are some problems with the "per parcel" plan.
She says many local officials don't want the assessment placed as a line item on property tax bills and she says trying to set up an independent billing system is too expensive.
Moore also says it's premature to raise additional money for water quality projects at this time.
"Existing revenues are sufficient based on the existing programmatic framework to fund the state's obligations and so we really need that bigger conversation about how any revenue raised should be dispersed,” said Moore.
Sen. Bray says he expects this legislation will be the top priority for the Senate Natural Resources committee during the 2018 session.