Chester homeowners are in turmoil upon receiving a letter this week mandating they pay a $15/month bill starting next month for stormwater management.
It’s safe to say that most folks don’t have a clue about this bill or what stormwater management is and why they should care. Many others on fixed income or living at or near the poverty line are insulted that this new ‘tax’ has appeared with no notice.
For those of you who read this blog, you’ll remember…
On January 26, 2017, I posted ‘Chester receives $1 million to help reduce stormwater runoff‘ which tells us that our brand new St. Rep. Brian Kirkland, just weeks after showing up in Harrisburg, announced that the Stormwater Authority of the City of Chester had been awarded a $1 million grant to improve the quality of stormwater and reduce runoff. Talk about hitting the ground running.
Then on June 23, 2017, I posted ‘Is Chester’s Stormwater Management as confusing to you as it is to me?‘ Since there were no comments, I imagine y’all were just as confused as I was.
Upon further review, there was a May 22, 2017 press release from the City of Chester on the Launch Set for $50M Stormwater Infrastructure in Chester held at Talen Energy Stadium (I’m rarely on that list so forgive me for not sharing earlier).
(Notice how everyone knew of the bogus Amazon Coming to Chester press conference at Talen Energy Stadium that will affect no one, and no one knew of the Stormwater press conference that will affect everyone?)
Then, on June 8 the Delaware County Daily Times (page 7) had an article ‘Stormwater management plan unveiled for Chester’ where Dr. Horace Strand reminds us that..
“This is one of the greatest opportunities in the history of this community,”
He goes on to say…
…this effort is a new beginning for the city.
“What this represents today is this community taking control of its own destiny,” he said. “Instead of waiting for somebody to come in and smile upon us, the mayor has said, ‘We must make things happen.’”
And, he said this will.
I guess after all that press, they forgot to tell us home owners will be paying for all this.
But lookie here. On my June 23 posts…
…the city hopes to start assessing a new stormwater fee on commercial and industrial properties that would raise the necessary $50 million.
All that stuff I wrote above is to satisfy the folks who read this blog and say I never present facts.
Here comes the opinion portion of the post.
Something is really wrong in Chester when a new agency is formed and within a year that agency can send a letter to every homeowner in Chester telling them to ante up about $15 a month for the rest of their life to pay for something they barely understand.
The City would get a better reception if they told people to pay $15 a month to get rid of abandon buildings or to pave a street or two. But no. The City (or some offshoot of a city agency) is demanding people pay to send rain water to the river.
Obviously, it’s not that simple, but most people don’t understand that it is that simple. What’s new is the Feds have made the city responsible for the quality of water entering the river by establishing conditions spelled out in a permit.
What’s not so obvious is why Chester is becoming the poster child for this new fangled $50 million 20 to 30 year contract with a company that’s going to plant trees and bushes. That’s not to say that natural stormwater capture isn’t a legitimate practice to limit water from heavy rains from flooding properties or sending bad stuff to the river, but how did Chester get so lucky to have the poorest people in Delaware County be stuck with the bill?
The very first thing my mom asked me when she read the letter was, “What is this and what happens if I don’t pay this bill? I can’t afford it. Will they cut off my water?”
I told her the water coming in your house comes from Chester Water Authority. The water going out your house goes to Delcora. That bill is for the rain water in the street going to the river. There’s no way they can shut your water off for not paying. All they can do is send you to a collection agency.
There have been a few stormwater public meetings the last few months. I went on their website to read the minutes (or something) from those meetings. Nothing.
Was this new bill/tax/fee a resolution approved in Chester City Council? I don’t attend council meetings often, so I’m asking those of you who do attend.
All the way around this is a bad deal. Between the lack of communication & education and the suspect way this stormwater deal was made probably doesn’t give folks a lot of warm and fuzzies toward city officials and the St. Rep. right through here.
Or, maybe everyone is okay with it.