Trumbull County commissioners are expected to vote today on imposing an annual fee in 16 communities to help fund a storm water district.

Half of the proposed $30 fee that would be attached to residents’ property taxes in 10 townships, including Brookfield and Hubbard, will be returned to those municipalities for capital improvement projects aimed at improving water quality and flood management.

The other half will help implement a storm water management program mandated by the federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies.

“The plan is to alleviate the flooding that happens with these small storms,” said Brian Prunty, urban specialist for the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District.

The program is designed to return money to financially strapped townships so they can make drainage improvements without taking more money out of their general funds, Prunty said.

Brookfield Trustee J. Philip Schmidt said the fee would help the township meet certain mandates.

The township has to check storm water outlets for any hazardous chemicals and if the liquid is suspected of being contaminated, the township has to pay to have it tested, Schmidt said.

The township also plans to use its 50 percent share of the fee to clean catch basins and divert storm water in the interest of flood control.

“We don’t like to see more taxes, but it’s a minimal tax,” Schmidt said.

Properties in some cities and villages will be assessed a $15 fee under the proposal. The fee is higher in those municipalities because they either already have capital improvement projects or can impose them on their own. Ohio law requires county commissioners to create the fees for townships.

These townships are also in the storm water district: Bazetta, Champion, Howland, Liberty, Newton, Vienna, Warren and Weathersfield.

The cities of Cortland, Girard, Newton Falls, Niles and the village of McDonald also fall under the program.

If commissioners approve the proposed fees, they will be smaller than the approximately $45 average fee that residents pay in about 430 storm water districts nationwide.

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