The Pennsylvania Senate has passed state legislation expressly authorizing the creation of stormwater management authorities. Sen. Ted Erickson’s (R-Chester) Senate Bill 1261 allows municipalities the ability to create independent stormwater authorities.
The legislation amends the Municipality Authorities Act by adding stormwater management planning and projects to the purposes and powers of municipal authorities. Section 5607 enumerates the specific purposes and powers of municipal authorities. For example, the list includes purposes such as sewer systems, water distribution systems, airports, parking spaces, industrial development projects, etc. Senate Bill 1261 adds “storm water management planning and projects” as a purpose and power of municipal authorities.
According to Erickson, local governments in Pennsylvania are seeking tools to help them respond to escalating costs of stormwater management to address regulatory requirements and flooding problems.
Supporters of the bill argue stormwater authorities will help create a stable source of funding for municipal stormwater management planning and projects. These authorities could also provide incentives for private stormwater management that would reduce costs to local governments and taxpayers. Additionally, they could allow for multi-municipal planning efforts that tackle stormwater management on a watershed-wide basis.
Several municipalities in Pennsylvania that have considered creating stormwater authorities have been reluctant to do so in the absence of express authorization by the General Assembly. Erickson’s legislation will expressly provide that authorization.