Storm water fees being re-evaluated

Shawn Hardy

Greencastle Borough Council is getting more time to raise money for storm water cleanup projects and is taking another look at the dollar figures proposed last month for impact fees.

Council President Steve Miller announced at the beginning of a special meeting Thursday night that Antrim Township has agreed to push the joint stream restoration project back a year, giving the borough more time to consider how to fund it.

Council voted Thursday night to establish a storm water utility that will look at fees, which may be set at the Dec. 3 council meeting. Borrowing the money also is an option.

About 20 local residents and business owners attended the meeting Thursday.


The yearly fees proposed in October were $160, residential, 1,974 units; $500, institutional/churches, 26 units; and $1,600, commercial, 206 units. Those fees would generate $658,440 a year.

The cleanup measures and fees are in response to the borough's five-year MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit. The federal EPA mandate for the borough is to reduce the sediment it sends to the Chesapeake Bay by 10 percent, or 142,217 pounds by the end of the fifth year.

Storm water management in relation to a project at the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library is one step, which will be taken next year at an estimated cost of $55,000.

Instead of engineering in 2019 and work in 2020, Antrim Township, also facing federal MS4 cleanup mandates, has agreed to engineering in 2020 and work in 2021 for the joint restoration of a section of Paddy Run southwest of the borough. That reduces the borough's costs for 2019 by 53 percent from what was projected in October — from $305,360 to $199,360.

The library and Paddy Run projects are expected to cost Greencastle at total of $861,000, Eden Ratliff, borough manager, said in a presentation on MS4 at the meeting.


Louise Kemper of Center of Balance and attorney Chris Reibsome were among the audience members who spoke at the meeting. Both noted as business owners and residents, they will be hit twice with fees.

Kemper said she is not equal to some other businesses in terms of size and Reibsome said not all law practices are $1 million firms.

"We gave it our best shot and recognize many of the inequities," Miller said. "We needed a starting point."

"I'm not suggesting you don't comply, but what are the penalties?" asked resident and attorney Ed Wine, who also chairs the borough planning commission.

Mayor Ben Thomas said he can't name a municipality that's been fine, but has heard "threats of significant fines."