Sanitary Authority Looking for Solutions to Controversial Stormwater Runoff Fee

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HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Board members for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority say they're continuing to look into the possibility of eliminating or reducing the stormwater runoff fee, but they have no solid plan on how to do that just yet.

That's not what residents wanted to hear.

The board held another meeting Tuesday night in relation to that controversial fee that's caused such an uproar in Luzerne County.

"I was in the Army for 35 years, and I'll be damned if we let them shove this down our throats," Richard Manta of Jackson Township said at the meeting.

Manta voiced his frustration with the new stormwater runoff fee imposed by the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. The fee is intended to cover the cost of reducing the amount of pollution that flows into the Susquehanna River and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

"We want to take a look at this and as a board come up with some potential other avenues to reduce this fee," said Samuel Guesto, Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority.

The fee costs many homeowners about $60 a year, but many people who own large areas of land are being asked to pay a lot more.

Some of the people at the meeting say their bill is about $1,000 for the year and they simply can't afford to pay it.

Tom Barnard of Exeter described himself as a registered engineer. He argues that the authority used the wrong kind of maps to determine who pays how much.

He offered to help the authority fix it.

"I don't know who your technical consultants are. I don't know who your legal consultants are, but the way that these impervious areas are laid out in the assessment is simply indefensible," Barnard said to the board.

The Sanitary Authority did announce that the deadline to pay the stormwater fee has been pushed back until March 15.

The board also said that anyone who wants to contest their bill can do so for free.

The board is also looking into ways to reduce the stormwater fee or even eliminate it altogether.

"I believe the meeting was very informative and that people are finally getting heard," Manta said.

The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority says it will be holding another meeting in the next 10 days to update this evolving issue.

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