Recently, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) convened the first meeting of an Advisory Committee looking at increasing municipal separate storm sewer system (known as “MS4”) fees. The workgroup is charged with implementing direction from the Oregon legislature, which during the 2017 session declined to provide general funds for several positions requested by DEQ and instead directed DEQ to raise fees on permit holders to cover at least two of the requested positions. The first proposal presented by DEQ conceives of a 350 percent fee increase on permit holders, which includes about a half dozen counties. AOC staff participated, along with Marion County staff, and argued that counties should not bare the same burden as other permit holders, since the coverage area and population of the counties service area cannot currently be measured in the same way as cities and counties generally do not have the ability to pass MS4 fees on, as cities typically are able to. The Advisory Committee will likely meet again in December or January.

Contributed by: Mike Eliason | AOC Transportation Policy Manager