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Governor Murphy Enacts “Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act”

On March 18, 2019, Governor Murphy signed the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act. This act allows towns and counties to create municipal stormwater utilities, which would impose fees on property owners to pay for upgrades to local stormwater infrastructure. The intended purpose of the law is to address flooding, especially in flood prone areas of the state, as well as restore environmental damage sustained from surface runoff. While the Act will calculate fees based upon the surface area of paved areas, properties that will be most affected will be those with sprawling footprints and large parking lots.

Not every municipality will establish a stormwater utility. Communities that are prone to flooding are more likely to create stormwater utilities than those that do not experience frequent flooding. Mike Cerra, the assistant executive director of the League of Municipalities, expects that a couple dozen towns may create stormwater utilities, especially those in more urban areas.

Ultimately, this will become a local issue, as every town will decide for itself whether it will create stormwater utilities pursuant to the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act, and will determine how to assess any fees, including the rates, and to whom those fees will apply. It remains to be seen how the creation of stormwater utilities will impact managing environmental resources and affect business owners. If your town enacts a stormwater utility, please contact us to discuss how to manage the impacts of this new law.

For more details, please see our earlier post "When it Rains it Pours: NJ Considers Enacting 'Rain Tax.'"

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