HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A grassroots effort to fight the controversial stormwater runoff fee in Luzerne County is ramping up.
The fee has led to confusion, frustration and in many cases, downright anger. Many area residents claim it’s unfair and illegal.
The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority is the agency overseeing the federally mandated fee in this region. Some are calling this fight a real-life David versus Goliath story, but the organizers of the opposition say they are confident they will win this fight.
“We are the little guy but people forget there’s power in numbers. We can do anything. It’s been proven in history,” No Rain Tax Group member Marian Deangelis said.
And that’s why the group called No Rain Tax is placing signs throughout the Back Mountain of Luzerne County. They are trying to raise money to file a lawsuit to fight the fee. That fee is supposed to pay for projects that will help keep our waterways clean, namely area rivers and streams that lead into the Chesapeake Bay.
But the fees have caused sticker shock for many people. Michael Salvati has protest signs at his wiener shop in Dallas. They are fast movers.
“Everybody’s mad. Everybody says double tax. I don’t… they didn’t want to pay any more taxes. If we see results from our money it might be a different story,” Salvati said.
Rich Manta and Mike Stash are posting signs in as many locations as they can to get the word out about fundraising efforts to file a lawsuit against the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority which is overseeing the federally mandated fee.
“Are you going to buy your medicine if you’re a senior citizen or are you going to pay your rainwater tax?” Manta of Jackson Township asked.
“The science behind this whole mandate is very sketchy. So we have issues throughout this whole problem,” Stash also of Jackson Township said.
Marian Deangelis is spearheading the lawsuit effort.
“We found an attorney who is willing, able and ready to fight this. Has the power, has everything just needs the funds to go to court. It’s that simple,” Deangelis said.
A spokesperson for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority tells Eyewitness News that the No Rain Tax Group has not offered any alternative plans to meet the federal mandate and the Authority will continue to work with its 32 member communities to meet that mandate.
The No Rain Tax Group has raised about $14,000 toward the lawsuit fund so far. The group says it needs at least $45,000 to file the lawsuit. The federal mandate affects just about every community in the state. This lawsuit, if successful, could impact each of those communities.