Politics, Sci-Tech

Olszewski: State to help pay for Perry Hall Manor sewer extension project

PERRY HALL, MD—County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Friday announced that Baltimore County has secured a funding commitment from the state to help pay for a significant sewer extension project in the Perry Hall Manor neighborhood, providing substantial financial relief for homeowners. In addition, the County Executive announced plans to introduce legislation to provide income-based relief to homeowners for future water and/or sewer extension projects.

“Access to the public sewer system is an essential service in many neighborhoods, and we are working to ensure that extending this service does not cause financial hardship for residents,” Olszewski said. “I’m grateful to Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Sen. Guy Guzzone for helping to secure critical funding for Perry Hall Manor, and I look forward to working with the County Council to provide additional relief going forward.”

Under the County Code, property owners are subject to pay for a portion of the costs associated with projects where public water and/or sewer is connected or passes by their property. While these costs can be financed over 40 years, they can be substantial for many homeowners.

“Working with the County and my state partners here in Annapolis, I am proud that we were able to secure funding for this much needed project in Perry Hall Manor,” Sen. Kathy Klausmeier said. “Our combined efforts on this project will help to address environmental issues in the community and ease the economic burden on its residents.”

“I truly appreciate the partnership of County Executive Olszewski and Senator Klausmeier as we found solutions to this tough problem in the Perry Hall Manor community,” said Councilman David Marks. “Working together, the county and state came up with a plan that will address environmental issues and minimize costs to a community with many senior citizens. I wholeheartedly support the County Executive’s initiative to look at ways of making sewer projects more affordable for all.”

Perry Hall Manor Sewer Extension
In 2018, Baltimore County’s Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability conducted a septic system assessment in the Perry Hall Manor neighborhood at the request of several residents, and found nearly 20 percent of the homes in to be in immediate need of a septic system repair. In addition, given the age of most of the septic systems in the community, the lot sizes and proximity to private drinking water supplies, it is anticipated that many of the septic systems will require replacement over the next 20 years. Sewer extensions are necessary for communities with failing septic systems because of the potential for failing systems to pollute ground water and cause other health implications.

As a result, the County began planning for a sewer extension project in the neighborhood, at a total estimated cost of $10.5 million. Though the County covers half the construction cost of such projects, the minimum total amount for benefit and construction loan charges billed to the majority of property owners would have been approximately $40,000. With the $5 million in state funding, homeowners will now be responsible for just a fraction of these costs, which can be financed.

Proposed Legislation
In order to ensure that Baltimore County residents will not be financially burdened by future extension projects, Olszewski will introduce legislation to establish an income-based credit program for water and/or sewer benefit and construction loan assessments. Eligible homeowners, determined based on household income, will receive a credit toward the charges associated with these projects.

The proposed credit program provides additional relief to residents who may be subject to a County water and/or sewer health and petition project. This program may also encourage residents who are on septic systems to connect to the County sewer system and help reach the State’s environmental goal of reducing nitrogen levels in our watershed, in‐turn improving the overall health of the environment and greater community.

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