Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee Appeal/Credit FAQ's
What’s the difference between an Appeal and a Credit?
Appeals - The Stormwater Remediation Fee Appeal Program is intended for property owners who feel that they have been billed in error. If you feel that your property has been assigned to an incorrect billing category or you feel there is an error in the calculation of your fee then you should file an Appeal using one the following forms:
Completed forms should be mailed to:
Anne Arundel County DPW
2662 Riva Road
Annapolis, MD 21401
The Anne Arundel County Office of Finance offers a program to reduce or waive the WPRF fee (and also the Bay Restoration Fund) for property owners who meet certain financial hardship provisions. Information and application forms for this program are available through the Office of Finance.
Completed forms should be mailed to:
Office of Finance
Utility Billing and Customer Service
P.O. Box 2700
Annapolis, MD 21404
Please review the frequently asked questions below to determine the appropriate Appeals form.
Credits - Credits for reducing stormwater fees are available for eligible property owners who can demonstrate that they have already installed and properly maintained certain stormwater controls. The Stormwater Fee Credit Program and Policy Document for Anne Arundel County was approved by the Maryland Department of Environment as required by law.
The deadline to apply for a Stormwater Fee Credit is October 1.
Stormwater Fee Credit Program Information
Stormwater Fee Credit Program and Policy Document
Stormwater Fee Credit Program Applications
If you believe your property was categorized in the wrong Tier.
If you are a Tier 1 property but have less than 2,900 square feet of impervious surface
If you are a Tier 2 property but have less than 1,200 square feet of impervious surface
Properties in Tier 1 are those that are in zoning districts RA or RLD and that are improved with a single family detached dwelling.
Properties in Tier 2 are those that are in zoning districts R1, R2, or R5 and that are improved with a single family dwelling.
Properties in Tier 3 are those that are in zoning districts R10, R15, or R22 and that are improved by an attached dwelling or a single family dwelling, and also properties in zones RA, RLD, R1, R2, or R5 that are improved by an attached dwelling or is a mobile home space under a license issued by the County. Attached dwellings are those containing two dwelling units on top of one another, two units side by side, or townhomes.
The zoning of a property can be identified by visiting the MyAnneArundel link at http://www.aacounty.org.
If you believe your Stormwater Remediation Fee has been calculated incorrectly based on the classification found on the tax bill.
If the property is an incorporated or unincorporated Homeowners Association, Civil or Community Association, Council of Condominium Owners or similar entity and you think the fee should be capped based on the provisions of § 13-7-103 (g) of the County Code.
If you believe a mathematical error has been made in the fee calculation or there is an error in the calculation of impervious surface area.
• If you believe you are not subject to the Stormwater Fee for one of the following reasons:
- Property is in the City of Annapolis
- Owned by the State of Maryland
- Owned by a unit of State Government
- Owned by a County
- Owned by a Municipality
- Owned by a regularly organized volunteer fire department that issued for public purposes
- Unimproved property (contains no impervious surface area)
• If the person billed is not the record owner of the property
• If the property owner qualifies for a financial hardship exemption. (See Form 13-6 for required application)
In order to qualify for the Financial Hardship Exemption you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
The Property must receive an individual real property tax bill
Certify they are an owner/occupant OR hold a lease or contract for the property
Applicants must meet 2 of the below conditions:
Receiving an energy assistance subsidy
Receiving a supplemental security income (SSI) or food stamps
Receiving veterans or social security disability benefits
Meet a monthly income criteria (see application)
If you think you qualify for a financial hardship, please use this form.
All Residential Application for Stormwater Remediation Fee Financial Hardship Exemptions are reviewed by the Office of Finance.
Is there a deadline to file an appeal?
Yes. The County Code stipulates the deadline to file an appeal is September 30.
Do I have to pay the fee if I file an appeal?
If you file an appeal, you are not required to pay the Stormwater Remediation Fee until your appeal is decided. If your appeal is upheld, you will receive a new bill for the Stormwater Remediation Fee. If your appeal is denied, you will be required to pay the originally billed fee.
How long will it take to rule on my appeal?
The Director of Public Works is required to rule within 45 days of receipt of your appeal. You will be notified of the results of your appeal in a letter from DPW. If you appeal is upheld, a new bill in the revised amount will be issued by the County.
If my appeal is approved, do I have to file a new appeal each year?
No. The appeal decision will be reflected on the following years’ bills.
My Property is a Farm
Farms, as defined in the legislation, are entitled to a reduced rate for their Stormwater Remediation Fee. If you feel your property qualifies as a farm and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
My Property is owned by a Charitable Organization
The WPRF legislation establishes a reduced fee rate for properties owned by Charitable Organizations that are exempt from taxation under § 501 (c) (3) or (d) of the IRS code. If your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
My Property is owned by a Homeowners Association
Properties owned by Homeowners Associations, Council of Condominium Owners and similar organizations are charged a stormwater fee based on their impervious surfaces just like any other non-residential property. However, the total amount charged to any one such organization is capped at an amount equal to $34 times the number of properties that are eligible for membership in the organization. For example, the fee for community property owned by a small HOA with 20 homes could not exceed 20 x $34 = $680. If you represent an HOA or other community organization and you feel that your stormwater bill exceeds the maximum amount based on your eligible membership, please use Form 13-3 “Homeowners Association Property”.
My Property has an NPDES Permit
The WPRF legislation establishes a reduced fee rate for properties with stormwater controls on their property that are regulated under a current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit with Stormwater requirements. Typically properties covered under either “GENERAL PERMIT FOR DISCHARGES FROM STORMWATER ASSOCIATED WITH INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES - DISCHARGE PERMIT NO. 12-SW” or “GENERAL PERMIT FOR DISCHARGES FROM MARINAS INCLUDING BOAT YARDS AND YACHT BASINS - DISCHARGE PERMIT NO. 10-MA” would meet these criteria. If you feel that your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
My Property is a Private Airfield
The WPRF legislation establishes a reduced fee rate for properties that are operated as private airfields or airports. If your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Qualifying criteria to be considered an airport or airfield are described on the appeal form.
My Property is owned by a Religious Organization.
The WPRF legislation establishes a reduced fee rate for properties owned by Religious Organizations. In order to qualify, the organization must be certified under § 501 (c) (3) or (d) of the IRS code and be exempt from real property taxes under § 7-204 of the Tax Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. If you feel your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
My Property is undeveloped why did I receive a fee?
The stormwater fee applies to all properties that contain impervious surfaces, whether or not there are any structures on the property. The only exception to this rule is those properties that are specifically exempt from receiving a fee under the State law. If a tax parcel contains no structures but is improved with a driveway or path or other impervious areas, it is appropriate that it is assessed a stormwater fee. If you feel your property does not contain any impervious surfaces but was charged a stormwater fee, please use Form 13-5 “Exempt or Incorrect Property Owner”.
My Property is a Private Road or Right of Way not owned by a Homeowners Association
The WPRF legislation establishes a fixed rate for properties that are private roads or Rights of Way. In order to qualify for this rate, the primary use of the tax parcel must be for a road, driveway or right-of-way. If your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
My Property is used as a private school
The WPRF legislation establishes a reduced fee rate for properties owned by private academic schools. For the purposes of the WPRF, Private academic schools are defined as private institutions that offer an academic course of instruction and that are operated by a religious facility or under a certificate of approval by the State Department of Education. If you feel that your property meets these criteria and you have not been charged the proper fee, use Form 13-2 “Incorrect Classification of Property” to file an appeal. Requirements for providing information to support your claim are described on the appeal form.
I have a Financial Hardship
The Anne Arundel County Office of Finance offers a program to reduce or waive the WPRF fee (and also the Bay Restoration Fund) for property owners who meet certain financial hardship provisions. See Form 13-6 "Financial Hardship"
for more information.
How are Stormwater Fees calculated for Residential Properties?
Fees are calculated based on Zoning. For more information on how Stormwater Fees are calculated click here
Where can I find the amount of impervious surface for my property?
An online mapping website has been created to identify the amount of impervious surface used for the Stormwater Remediation Fee. Click here to access the website
Once your property has been identified you can view the Address Information, Amount Billed, Total Impervious Surface in square feet, and SW Billing Category on the Stormwater Fee tab. Links to the Stormwater Fee Billing Category Descriptions and the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation Real Property Record can be found on the “Links” tab.
Where can I find the Property Tax Charge Codes and Fee Calculations?
A list of property tax charge codes and the fee calculations can be found by clicking here
What is the Phase-In?
For most properties, the WPRF Fee is being phased in over a three year period. In 2014 (the 1st year) properties subject to the Phase-In only received a bill for 60% of their actual calculated charge. In 2015, year 2 of the program, these property owners will be billed 80% of their calculated charge and in year three they will receive a bill for the full 100% of fee. For example, if the calculated fee for a Tier 2 property was $85/yr, they would receive a bill for only $51 in the 1st year, $68 in the second year and then the full $85 in the 3rd year.
Can I get a Property Tax Credit for installing Stormwater Management devices?
Yes, the Office of Planning and Zoning maintains a Property Tax Credit program for property owners who install certain Stormwater control devices. Information about the program is available at http://www.aacounty.org/Finance/Resources/StormWaterMgmtTaxCredit.pdf
I have a stormwater BMP on my property that does not currently have an inspection and maintenance agreement. Is there a way to obtain one?
Inspection and maintenance agreements for private stormwater management are executed between the property owner and the County prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the property. They cannot be obtained after the stormwater BMP has been constructed.
Where can I find a copy of my BMP inspection and maintenance agreement?
You can find a copy of the agreement on the Maryland Land Records website - http://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm
(Must register as a user)
I have installed stormwater BMPs on my residential property, such as rain gardens and rain barrels that do not have an inspection and maintenance agreement. Can I still receive credit for them?
Residential properties with stormwater BMPs that do not have an inspection and maintenance agreement are not eligible for the Stormwater Fee Credit Program. However, Anne Arundel County is looking to create a "Rebate Program" for residential properties during the fiscal year 2015. BMPs, including rain gardens, rain barrels, and alternative paving (porous concrete) are anticipated to be eligible stormwater BMPs to receive a one-time rebate. Please look for the announcement of the "Rebate Program" on the following web page in the near future: www.aarivers.org
. Receipts, photo documentation, plans/brochures, installation documentation, rebate application, etc. will most likely be required to receive a rebate.
Another option for properties with Stormwater BMPs that do not have an inspection and maintenance agreement is the Stormwater Management Property Tax Credit Program administered by the Office of Planning and Zoning. It provides for a reduction in County property taxes for qualified stormwater improvements. The application must be filed within 45 days after the completion of the qualifying improvements and annually thereafter. For information and applications: http://www.aacounty.org/Finance/Resources/StormWaterMgmtTaxCredit.pdf
I successfully appealed my Stormwater Fee in 2014, but the fee is higher than what I paid last year. Why?
In cases where the Stormwater Fee is higher in the 2015 tax year, this may be due to the Phase-In period that started in 2014 and ends in 2016. In 2015, those Non-Residential tax accounts with fees higher than $500 will be charged a fee that is 80% of the Full Stormwater Fee. Residential properties are also included in the Phase-In period and will be paying a fee of $27.20/$68/$136 based on the property zoning.
If I appeal my Stormwater Fee in 2015, will it retroactively change my fee for 2014?
No. According to the Anne Arundel County Code (§13-7-104(b)), an appeal shall be submitted on or before September 30 in order to receive a correction of the stormwater' remediation fee for the current billing year. The appeal is not retroactive to prior tax years.
How can I file a Stormwater Fee Appeal?
Information on Stormwater Fee Appeal Applications can be found at the top of this page.