Governor Corbett signed into law Act 68 on July 9, 2013 which enables Pennsylvania municipalities to address storm water issues with the option of creating storm water authorities.
Municipal authorities are independent agencies authorized by municipalities to manage public works services. Local and county government entities have utilized authorities to address a wide variety of public services – from sewer and water to park and recreation. However, prior to the signage of Act 68, many municipalities believed they lacked the legal ability to create authorities specifically to address storm water issues.
On June 12, 2013, the House Local Government Committee approved bills to help Pennsylvania communities address storm water issues. The identical bills, SB 351 (sponsored by Senator Ted Erickson), which passed the Senate (49-1) on April 16, and HB 821 (sponsored by Representative Kate Harper), specifically grant municipal authorities the power to engage in storm water management. While this power may be inferred to already exist under current law, there is disagreement as to whether this is actually the case. The bills make the General Assembly’s authorization for authorities to manage stormwater clear.
The bills also allow municipalities to create a joint authority with neighboring municipalities to work together on stormwater issues.
The bills are supported by several local government and environmental organizations including the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association and PennFuture.