Middletown could provide low-income residents with an exemption from a fee collected by the town to help maintain its infrastructure.

Some residents have asked that the town treat its Capital Improvement Fee the same as the Bay Restoration Fund by providing an exemption, Burgess John Miller said Thursday.

The town has already had two or three residents come in to ask if they can qualify for an exemption, Town Administrator Drew Bowen said.

The change would allow the town to exempt certain homes from the Bay Restoration Fund and Capital Improvement Fee if residents can prove a “substantial financial hardship.” The exemptions would need the approval of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The town's burgess and commissioners discussed the issue at a workshop Thursday evening.

The Bay Restoration Fund is a $60 annual state fee collected from each home served by a wastewater treatment plant to help plants upgrade their ability to remove nutrients from wastewater.

The Capital Improvement Fee is a $200 annual fee — paid quarterly — to every home, which goes into the town's capital improvement budget for work on water lines, groundwater storage improvements and similar projects, Bowen said.

In place since 1997, the fee allows the town to get money for improvements and maintenance without relying on annexing properties and money from developers, Bowen said.

The fee is essentially “an asset management plan. How are you taking care of your infrastructure,” he said.

For the Bay Restoration Fund, the state allows homes to be exempted from the fee if they meet two of the following conditions:

  • Receive an energy assistance subsidy.
  • Receive either supplemental security income or food stamps.
  • Receive veterans or Social Security disability benefits.
  • Have a qualifying household monthly income.

The exemptions would have to be renewed each year, and would be approved by the town's burgess and commissioners.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(3) comments

LAR1

Instead of creating another process that requires review and approval in order to relieve some individuals of their financial responsibilities, perhaps instead the fee should be a set percentage of the assessed value of the property. Assuming lower income people have lower value properties, they would pay a lower fee than those with higher value properties. This procedure collects the money, property owners meet their financial responsibilities, and the overhead of an (expensive) annual review and approval process would be avoided. A win-win for all.

bnbmyers99

Looks like the state has limited the criteria that can be used for reducing the Bay Restoration Fund charge and the Town will simply use the same for their charge

DickD

A really good idea, but it will not affect many people in Middletown.

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