Atlantic General Hospital Fights Berlin Rain Tax - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Atlantic General Hospital Fights Berlin Rain Tax

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BERLIN, MD.- It's a legal battle, on one side Atlantic General Hospital, and on the other, the town of Berlin. Town officials hope to reduce the amount of flooding, erosion and polluted runoff by enforcing a new storm water utility fee, also known as 'rain tax.' But Atlantic General Hospital officials said this law drops an outrageous tax in the laps of business owners, who work hard to manage storm water on their property.

"We already spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to manage it," said Michael Franklin. 

The hospital had to pay more than $5,000 for the tax in 2013, and Atlantic General may have to pay that same amount each year. So the hospital is seeking an exemption.

"To take thousands of dollars out this organization every year, that's thousands of dollars we can't invest into the community," said Franklin. 

Berlin town officials have said from the beginning no properties will be exempt from the storm water utility fee, because the money generated from the new rain tax would fund much-needed upgrades to the town's storm water system.

Town manager Laura Allen said flooding is a long standing issue in Berlin.

"It can get pretty bad," said Allen. "I've seen pictures where it's been up to an individual's knees as you were walking down the street. And that's pretty significant. We had a lot of damage, homeowners have complained about losing basically furniture in the first floor of their home."

Home owners in Berlin pay a flat rate of $50 each year, but business owners now pay for every square foot of impervious surfaces, like a parking lot, that does not soak up rainwater.

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