Baltimore's "Rain Tax" to Fund Stormwater Runoff Projects

A new Chesapeake Bay Trust grant is using funds from Baltimore taxpayers' stormwater fee for projects to reduce runoff pollution.

The Baltimore Department of Public Works (DPW) says community partners can apply to the Trust's Outreach and Restoration Grant Program for funds ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. The money must be used for projects that help reduce stormwater runoff, educate and bring awareness to the problem, or do both.

“We are always happy to help citizens and community groups join the effort to clean our City,” said DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “This is a great use of the stormwater fee revenue.”

The Maryland Stormwater Fee is a service fee that appears on Baltimore City property owners' water bills. It was created as a statewide fee in 2012. Nicknamed the "rain tax," it was a hot-button issue in the 2014 race for Maryland's governor. Today, cities and counties have the option to fund their stormwater programs through a dedicated stormwater fee, or by other means. Baltimore City continues to use the stormwater fee.

Baltimore's stormwater fee is a three-tiered system based on impervious surface.

Baltimore's stormwater fee is a three-tiered system based on impervious surface.

The grant program is now accepting proposals through September 11, 2017.

To help potential grant applicants, the Trust and DPW will be hosting FREE informational workshops this summer:

July 11, 6–8 p.m. at Parks & People (2100 Liberty Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217)

July 13, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Second Chance (1700 Ridgely St, Baltimore, MD 21230)

July 20, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Central Baltimore Partnership (25 E 20th St, Baltimore, MD 21218)

August 2, 6–8 p.m. at Humanim (1701 N Gay St, Baltimore, MD 21213)

Megan Viviano