Meetings to address stormwater fee

County officials have said the fee is necessary to meet new mandates.

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WALLA WALLA - A stormwater management fee that has become a stormy topic will be the subject of two meetings this week.

Walla Walla County commissioners have scheduled the meetings to answer questions and concerns about stormwater assessment statements that began arriving in county residents' mailboxes last week.

The first meeting will be Wednesday at the Columbia-Burbank High School, 787 Maple St., in Burbank. The next will be Thursday at the Walla Walla County Public Health and Legislative Building, 314 W. Main St, in Walla Walla.

Both meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

County residents have deluged commissioners and other officials with calls to complain or question the charge, which is $36 per year for residences.

Fees for businesses, industries, farms, apartment buildings and other non-residential land uses are calculated based on the actual amount of impervious area, such as rooftops or parking lots. Properties in incorporated cities are not subject to the fee.

County officials have said the fee is necessary to meet new mandates for stormwater management laid down by the state Department of Ecology and federal Environmental Protection Agency. Although those agencies require the county to comply, they have provided no long-term funding to do so.

Failure to comply could result in the county facing fines exceeding $10,000 per day, said Joy Bader, county stormwater program manager.

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