[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Talbot County 7-10-1979 by Bill No. 121. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 148-2 Procedure for establishment or extension of existing sewer service; initiation by Department of Public Works.
The Talbot County Sanitary District as created and incorporated therein shall be the former Talbot County Sanitary District No. 2, which was created heretofore pursuant to Article 43, § 445 et seq., of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the Talbot County Charter, the boundaries whereof being recorded among the Land Records of Talbot County as required and as may have been subsequently enlarged by petition. The County Engineer shall have caused to be prepared a plat of the Sanitary District as heretofore created and enlarged, and same shall be recorded, and copies of said plat shall be filed, in the manner set forth hereinafter.
Upon the initiative of the County Engineer or whenever 25 property owners or the majority of property owners residing in any locality in Talbot County (joint owners of a single piece of property shall be counted as one owner for purposes of same) shall, in writing, petition the County Engineer to have said locality, the boundaries whereof shall be definitely stated in said petition, incorporated within said Sanitary District, the County Engineer shall undertake a feasibility study of the proposed expansion. If the County Engineer determines that the proposed expansion is feasible and consistent with the County Master Plan, area municipal plans and the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan and not within the corporate boundaries unless agreed to by said municipality, he shall have prepared an appropriate Council bill to effect the said locality as an addition to the Sanitary District, and the County Engineer shall cause a plat of the locality to be made. After such plat has been completed and said Council bill introduced, the County Engineer shall give notice by publication in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the County for each of three consecutive weeks, by handbills posted in such locality which is proposed to be incorporated in the Sanitary District and by direct mail to nonresident property owners, and the notice shall state the proposed boundaries of said locality to be incorporated in the Sanitary District and shall further state therein that a plat of the proposed locality may be inspected at the office of the County Engineer and that any person interested in the proposed incorporation of the locality into the Sanitary District will be heard by the County Council, pursuant to its rules and regulations, at a time specified in said notice. Upon the passage of the ordinance by the County Council, the County Engineer shall cause final plats of the locality to be made. One copy of said plat shall be filed in the office of the County Engineer and one in a plat book entitled "Talbot County Sanitary District" in the office where the records of Talbot County are kept; and, upon the effective date of said County Council ordinance, said locality as shown on said plat shall be and the same is hereby designated and constituted for the purposes of this chapter to be incorporated into the Sanitary District and shall be subject to all of the provisions of those sections affecting special taxes as to the Sanitary District.
§ 148-2 Procedure for establishment or extension of existing sewer service; initiation by Department of Public Works.
The County Engineer shall prepare annually and shall present to the Public Works Advisory Board a five-year plan, to be consistent with or to be included in the County Water and Sewerage Plan, for the orderly extension of water and sewer service within the Sanitary District for each year's current program. The County Engineer shall make or have made preliminary surveys, preliminary plans and estimates for the establishment or extension of water and sewer systems in those portions of the Sanitary District wherein such systems are necessary. Whenever such preliminary plans are completed and construction or extension of such system is contemplated, the County Engineer shall give notice by publication as provided in § 148-11 of a public hearing to be held by the Public Works Advisory Board.
The said notice by publication shall state the extent of the improvements, the proposed area to be served, the estimated cost thereof and that the preliminary plans and cost estimates of the improvements are available for public inspection at the office of the Department of Public Works during regular business hours and shall also specify a time and place for a public hearing before the Public Works Advisory Board when persons interested in the improvements may appear and be heard.
After the hearing before the Public Works Advisory Board, the Public Works Advisory Board shall, within 30 days, make a recommendation to the County Engineer on whether or not to proceed with the improvements, which recommendation shall be published as provided in § 148-11.
After the recommendation to proceed with the improvements has been published, the County Engineer shall include such water and sewer extensions within the Department of Public Works capital improvement program, and same shall be presented to the County Manager, who may include such capital improvement program in his annual capital improvement program which is submitted to the County Council pursuant to the Charter.
[Amended 3-11-1980 by Bill No. 128]
From time to time as required, the County Engineer shall prepare and submit to the County Council for its adoption by motion the standards pertaining to the installation and types of sewerage systems to be used in Talbot County. Upon the adoption of said standards by the County Council, the same shall be published in a manual to be made available by the County Engineer to the general public upon request. The County Engineer may charge for copies of this manual.
The County Engineer shall provide, for each and every property abutting upon a street or right-of-way in which a sewer main is laid, a sewer connection, which shall be extended, as required, from the sewer main to the property line of the abutting lot; said connection with the sewer main shall be constructed by the Department of Public Works but subject to a reasonable charge for hookup as provided elsewhere in this code, which charge shall be paid by all property owners at the Finance Department before the actual hookup with any pipe on private property is made. When any sewer installation is declared by the County Engineer complete and ready for the reception of sewage, every abutting property owner, upon receipt of a statement from the local Health Officer that the project to be completed will serve an area with failing septic tanks, shall make a hookup of all toilets and sewage waste drains with said sewer within one year of said notice. In the event that said system is not connected within the time prescribed, the County Engineer may cause same to be connected, and any charges associated therewith shall be collected by the Finance Officer as provided in this chapter. All cesspools, septic tanks and dry wells located on properties connected with sewers provided by the County shall be abandoned, closed and left in a sanitary condition so that no odor or nuisance shall arise therefrom and in a condition such that the buried facility is safe from collapse. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 148-14 of this chapter.
[Amended 3-11-1980 by Bill No. 128]
Sewerage system extensions. System extensions will be under contracts for permanent service. The County will extend its sewerage system only within the corporate limits of the Talbot County Sanitary District and, at its option, to supply applicants for permanent service under the terms and conditions enumerated below.
The Talbot County Engineer shall allow connection to existing County-owned wastewater treatment facilities consistent with the Talbot County Sanitary District Development Plan and the Talbot County Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan.
Service will be provided only to platted lots approved by the Talbot County Planning Commission or appropriate municipal planning agency.
Rights-of-way. The applicant or applicants requesting a sewerage system extension shall furnish, without expense to the County, satisfactory rights-of-way necessary for the construction, maintenance and operation of the sewerage system extension or shall agree to reimburse the County for expense incurred in the procurement of the necessary rights-of-way.
Survey and map.
The applicant or applicants will be required to furnish the County with a complete and final topographic map of the area being developed showing all roadways, alleys, lots and location of proposed buildings to be served and the sewer requirements of each proposed building or structure. All surveys shall be carefully and accurately executed and shall be made with an accuracy of no less than 1:5,000. The engineer or surveyor shall place concrete or substantial stone monuments or markers at all corners of the outside boundaries of the entire subdivision or tract, and he shall also place iron pipe or pin markers at all lot corners. Elevations shall be based on the 0.0 Datum as determined by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, and contours shall be shown with an interval no greater than one foot.
All final surveys, maps and plans shall be made by a competent civil engineer or land surveyor registered by the Maryland Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
All maps and plans shall be accurately drawn with waterproof ink to scales suitable to the size of the tract, but in no case shall the scale be more than 100 feet to one inch.
The County will design and prepare plans and specifications of the system extension suitable for the applicant's requirements and the requirements of the County. The design shall include all mains, fittings, manholes, sewer laterals, pumping stations, force mains and such other appurtenances as may be required and will be located, where possible, in the public roadway rights-of-way.
Manholes shall be located so that the interval between manholes is not more than 400 feet. All system extensions must comply with the requirements of the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Talbot County Standards and Details.
Estimate of cost. An estimate of cost of the requested extension will be prepared by the County when a complete and final topographic map has been submitted by the applicant. The estimate of cost will show the following:
The cost of mains and associated appurtenances based on the size of pipe required for the estimated requirements of the applicant, but in no case shall a main be less than eight inches in diameter.
Cost of manholes.
Cost of sewer laterals consisting of Y-branch to the established property line.
Cost of sewer main in excess of that required for the estimated requirements of the applicant which will be necessary to accommodate future extensions of the system.
Cost of sewerage pumping stations and associated appurtenances based on the estimated requirements of the applicant.
Cost of sewage force mains and associated appurtenances based on the size of pipe required for the estimated requirements of the applicant, but in no case shall a force main be less than four inches in diameter.
Cost of engineering and inspection.
Charges to applicant.
The applicant shall be required to pay separately in cash or by certified check to the County an amount of money equal to each of the following prior to the construction of the project: the estimated cost of the sewerage system extension exclusive of the item in § 148-5A(5)(d); and a capital connection charge, established by the Talbot County Finance Officer and specified at the time that a public works agreement as described above is executed, multiplied by the number of units proposed.
The applicant shall acquire all necessary permits and pay all associated costs.
The applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with the repair of any County facilities disturbed during construction of the proposed project.
Any additional costs determined prior to the execution of a public works agreement, which said agreement, when prepared, shall be subject to final approval by the Talbot County Council.
If total cost of the project exceeds the estimated cost, the applicant will be required to pay the additional amount to the County. If the total amount is less than the estimated amount paid by the applicant, the County will refund this amount which shall not bear interest.
Preparation, approval and award of bids.
The applicant shall prepare all plans, specifications, standards and details for all work to be performed on the applicant's property. The designs shall be consistent with the plans developed by the County for extensions of County facilities. The work shall be done in accordance with the Talbot County Standards and Details, Talbot County policy and the direction of the Talbot County Engineer. All documents described herein shall be suitable for bidding.
Talbot County shall advertise, accept bids and award all contracts for construction of the complete project.
Service extensions. Where mains are available in the public thoroughfare opposite the customer's premises or are extended thereto in accordance with the foregoing, the County will make service connections as described hereinbefore.
Sewage treatment facilities. The County will furnish sewage chlorinating equipment, sewage treatment facilities and all other equipment and structures required for the treatment of sewage.
For the purpose of installing or maintaining and operating the sewerage systems provided for under this chapter, the Department of Public Works may enter and excavate any County or other public road right-of-way without the receipt of a permit or payment of any charge. Whenever any of the aforementioned work is to take place within a federal, state or municipal right-of-way, the Department of Public Works shall duly notify the authority having control of said right-of-way and shall have obtained any required permits prior to construction. The Department of Public Works shall repair all construction sites within any of the aforementioned rights-of-way to a condition not inferior to that existing prior to construction and shall bear all costs incident thereto; provided, however, that whenever said extensions are made at the request of a private interest (i.e., not at the initiative of the County Engineer) the entity requesting the extension shall reimburse the County for all costs.
Every person, before beginning any excavation or construction over, on or in any public street, road, alley or public highway or in any County easement or right-of-way shall file with the Department of Public Works plans, or a description satisfactory to the County Engineer, of such work and construction in such street, road, alley, public highway, easement or right-of-way, showing the location and depth of the proposed excavation or construction and the plan to accommodate adequate traffic flow during construction. Such excavation or construction shall not begin until such plans have been approved by the County Engineer and a permit therefor secured from the Department of Public Works, nor shall any change be made in such approved plans or in the work and construction as shown upon such plans, except upon approval of the County Engineer.
It shall be unlawful for any person who has obtained permission to open any street to leave the street bed open for a period longer than the time stated in the permit or who willfully neglect or refuse to restore the street bed to its original condition.
Any person placing or maintaining any obstruction of any kind or character whatsoever in, on, over, under or through any public road, street, alley, easement or right-of-way of the County, which obstruction shall block or impede the construction or maintenance of any public work, shall, upon reasonable notice from the County Engineer, promptly shift, adjust, accommodate or remove such obstructions. Should any person fail to do so, the Department of Public Works may shift, adjust, accommodate or remove same, and the County Engineer shall charge the person having or maintaining the obstruction for the cost thereof.
Whenever a person, including a department of the County, other than the County Engineer, changes a road, road grade or road surface or makes any excavations or fills which require a change in the elevation of any manholes, sewer main or lines or appurtenances thereto, the County Engineer shall make the necessary change in the elevation of such manhole, sewer main or lines or appurtenances thereto and charge the person, including a bureau or department of the County, requiring same for the actual time and materials involved and the proportionate share of the current overhead.
Any employee of the Department of Public Works, in the pursuit of his official duties, upon presentation of proper credentials, may at any reasonable hour enter upon any private lands in the County for the purpose of making surveys, disconnecting, connecting or repairing a sewer main, and any person hindering or obstructing or refusing entry to such employee shall be punished as provided in § 148-14.
Any notice of publication required by this chapter shall be:
Published at least once each week for three consecutive weeks in one or more newspapers published in the County, having a circulation in the area affected by such notice, or by giving written notice to all persons affected thereby.
By posting of such notice in conspicuous public places in the area to be affected.
It shall be unlawful for any person to make any hookup to any County sewer line without first having obtained permission therefor from the County Engineer.
It shall not be lawful for any person to empty or discharge or cause or allow to be emptied or discharged any domestic wastewater from the premises occupied by him, directly or indirectly, to or upon any of the public or private roadways and drainage ditches of the County.
Any person violating §§ 148-4, 148-10, 148-12, 148-13 or any duly promulgated regulation of the County Engineer for which no other penalty is provided shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500, to be paid to the Finance Officer, or to sentencing to confinement in the County Jail for not more than 90 days, or to both fine and imprisonment.
The Department of Public Works shall exercise control of all publicly owned sewer facilities in the County, and the County Engineer, with the advice and recommendation of the Public Works Advisory Board, may make needful rules and regulations governing the use and conservation thereof.
All owners of real estate, including Talbot County, hereinafter referred to as the "County," who have connected with or who shall hereafter connect the sewer facilities of such real estate to the facilities of the County or where such real estate is benefited by the sanitary sewers of the County, shall pay the applicable charges, levies and assessments provided in this chapter.
All charges, levies and assessments provided in this chapter shall be a lien or charge against the real estate served or benefited and shall be levied, collected and enforced and shall have the same priority and right, bear the same interest and penalties and in every respect be treated as County real estate taxes.
[Amended 3-11-1980 by Bill No. 128]
Sewer service charges and ready-to-serve charges shall be as established and amended from time to time by the Talbot County Council in the annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance.
[Amended 3-11-1980 by Bill No. 128]
There is hereby established a ready-to-serve charge for every sewer connection made to the Sanitary District sewer system, as provided in § 148-18.
At the time of submitting the annual budget of the Department of Public Works to the Council, the County Engineer shall recommend the rate of the ready-to-serve charge for the ensuing year, which shall be based on the average cost of making all such sewer connections during the current fiscal year plus an amount for anticipated increased or decreased costs of making such connection in the ensuing year.
The ready-to-serve charges shall be paid prior to the connection to the Sanitary District sewer system.
The County Engineer shall make such uniform charge as shall have been enacted by law for every sewer connection as provided in this chapter. All revenue derived from such charge shall be retained by the Office of Finance as a fund for repairs, replacements or any expenses in the maintenance and operation of sewer systems.
[Amended 5-12-1981 by Bill No. 147]
For the purpose of paying the interest and principal of the bonds issued to provide for sewerage systems being or to be constructed, purchased or established within the Sanitary District of Talbot County, the Finance Officer is hereby empowered to establish and levy an annual benefit charge on all properties, improved or unimproved, binding upon a street, road, lane, alley or right-of-way in which a sewer main has been built. Said annual benefit charge shall be made upon the residential-unit basis plus the intensity of use of the development for which the property abutting said sewer main is zoned. The first payment shall be collected during the year in which the service is provided on the sewerage system or in which the systems are purchased or acquired.
The Finance Officer, for the purpose of levying the annual benefit charge, shall divide all properties binding upon a street, road, lane, alley or right-of-way in which a sanitary sewer is to be laid into nine classes, namely: agricultural, small acreage, industrial or business, subdivision or residential property, apartment, motel or hotel, office and shopping center and trailer parks; and the Finance Officer shall subdivide each of said classes in such manner as he may deem to be in the public interest, basing such classifications upon the intensity of use or development of property within the larger class. As used herein, the word "class" or "classes" shall include the class or classes established by the Finance Officer hereunder.
Whenever any sewerage project, or portion thereof, in said Sanitary District shall have been in operation by June 30 or December 31 in any one year, regardless of when said construction was commenced, then the Finance Officer shall fix and levy a benefit charge as of the first day of July or January of that same year upon all property in said Sanitary District abutting upon said sewer main, in accordance with the classification of subdivision thereof and shall, in writing, notify all owners of said properties into which class and subdivision their respective properties fall and the charge determined. Said notice shall state a time and place when and at which time said owner will be heard. Such notice shall be mailed to the last known address of the owner or served in person upon an adult occupying the premises or, in the case of a vacant or unimproved property, posted upon the premises. If the property owner is aggrieved with the decision of the Finance Officer, then an appeal may be entered to the Board of Appeals, as provided by law, and, upon such appeal, the Board of Appeals shall review the case as an appeal from an administrative decision, and the burden of proof shall be upon the appellant to show that the decision was arbitrary or unsupported by any substantial evidence or was unreasonable or that such decision was illegal. The Finance Officer shall change the classification of property from time to time as said properties change in the uses to which they are put.
Said benefit charges shall be levied for sewerage construction and shall be used for each class of property upon the number of residential units on each property abutting upon the street, lane, road, alley or right-of-way in which the sewer is placed and the intensity of the development or use of the property abutting the said sewer line; provided, however, that, in the case of any irregular shaped lot abutting upon a road, street, lane, alley or right-of-way in which there is or is being constructed a sewer at any point, said lot shall be assessed for such usage as the Finance Officer may determine to be reasonable and fair, and provided further that no land so classified as agricultural by the Finance Officer shall be assessed a benefit assessment when said agricultural land has constructed through it or in front of it a sewer, until such time as the sewer connection is made, and, when so made and for every connection, such land shall become liable to a benefit assessment based on units of residential use, as may be determined by said Finance Officer and shall be immediately assessed at the rate of assessment determined by said Finance Officer.
Residential sewer benefit charges for sewerage construction shall be as nearly uniform as is reasonably practical for each class or subclass of property throughout the Sanitary District for any one year, and no benefit charge, once levied, shall be increased; provided, however, that whenever the County Engineer acquires an existing system other than a municipal system, the construction of which has been added in whole or in part to the purchase of land or lots abutting upon said system and which contribution the County Engineer has determined to be a factor in the cost to the County Engineer of such system, the Finance Officer may, in his discretion, levy a residential sewer benefit assessment levied in the remainder of the Sanitary District in which said system is located.
The amount of the residential sewer benefit charge, based on a classification, as determined by § 148-14.26A, B and D, for each class of property for sewers, may be reduced from time to time by the Finance Officer, in his discretion, if costs and conditions are deemed by him to justify such reduction. Said benefit charge shall be paid annually by all properties located as above specified for a period of years coextensive with the period of maturity of the bonds out of the proceeds of which such construction was done.
Connections; collection of benefit charges.
The County Engineer may, at any time, permit a connection with a sewer by the property owner whose property does not abut on said sewer and who has not previously thereto paid a benefit charge for the construction of said sewer, provided that the Finance Officer shall classify said property and determine the sewer benefit charge to be paid by said property owner as though his or her property abutted upon said sewer; and, in the event of such connection being made, said property owner and said property as to all charges, rates and benefits shall stand in every respect in the same position as if said property abutted upon a sewer.
The Finance Officer of Talbot County shall include all benefit charges on the appropriate County tax bills and shall collect same for the use and benefit of the said Sanitary District. Said charges, as certified, fixed and levied, as aforesaid, shall be payable, without discount, on or before September 30 of the year in which they are levied. Charges paid between October 1 and November 1 of the year when levied shall bear a late charge of 10%. Charges paid after November 1 shall bear an additional penalty of 1% per month.
The annual benefit assessment or other charges as above specified shall be a first lien upon the property against which they are assessed until paid, any statute of limitations to the contrary. If any property is sold for state or County taxes, or both, by the Finance Officer of Talbot County and if after the sale there is a surplus after all costs and expenses incident to such sale shall have been paid, then the Finance Officer shall be allowed any balance from said surplus and shall be preferred lienor to the extent of its lien, and, for the purpose of giving notice to the general public as to existing liens and charges against any property abutting upon any sewer main, said Finance Officer shall keep a public record of all names of owners of property, locations of said property, lot numbers when of record and the amount of such benefit charges, sewer service charges or such other charges that may become liens from time to time. Said records shall be kept in the County seat of government and shall be legal notice of all existing liens. If any liens, benefit assessments or other charges remain unpaid for 60 days after becoming due, they may be collected in the same manner as provided for tax sales in Article 81, § 70 et seq., Annotated Code of Maryland (1975 Replacement Volume), as amended from time to time.
For the purpose of retiring the bonds authorized to be issued and of paying the interest thereon and for the payment of salaries and other expenses of the Department of Public Works related to sewer systems, the County Council may cause to be levied, against all assessable property within said Sanitary District for which said bonds have been issued annually, so long as any of said bonds are outstanding and not paid, a tax sufficient to provide such sums, as the County Council may deem sufficient and necessary, in conjunction with any amounts as the County Engineer may estimate that he will be able to collect out of the benefit assessments, as provided in § 148-21 therefor levied, but not yet paid, and any other funds then available for the purpose to meet the interest on said bonds as it becomes due and to pay the principal thereof as the bonds mature and said salaries and expenses as aforesaid, and said tax shall be determined, levied, collected and paid over.
The County Council may determine, in the manner above prescribed, the amount which it deems necessary to be raised during the ensuing year for the payment of interest and principal of all serial bonds maturing in said year and said salaries and expenses as aforesaid as hereinbefore and hereinafter in the chapter provided, and it shall determine the number of cents per $100 necessary to raise said amount for the Sanitary District.
Such tax shall be levied and collected and have the same priority right, bear the same interests and penalties and in that respect be treated the same as County property taxes. The tax so levied for the ensuing year shall be collected by the tax collecting authorities. From the money so received, together with the amount in hand to the credit of said bond fund, the Finance Officer shall first pay all interest and principal on said Sanitary District bonds as become due and the said salaries and expenses as aforesaid and shall then deposit the residue of said moneys in some bank or banks in Talbot County to the credit of the Sanitary District. The Finance Officer is authorized to pay the interest of any bonds that may be issued out of the proceeds of the sale of said bonds, but not more than one year's interest may be so expended.
All sums collected by the Finance Officer for benefits levied against the property in accordance with § 148-21 for sewerage construction shall be set aside as a separate fund to be known and designated as the "sanitary benefits account." The County Engineer, in order to determine the amount which he may deem necessary to be levied under § 148-21, may deduct such amount, plus such amount as the County Engineer may estimate that will be collected out of the benefits theretofore levied, but not yet paid, from the whole amount necessary to be raised in any one year, for interest and principal payments on outstanding bonds and the payment for salaries and expenses of the Department of Public Works as aforesaid, and thereby determine the balance then remaining to be raised as provided by § 148-22.
The provisions of this chapter are enacted pursuant to the authority contained in both the County Charter and the laws of Maryland, including but not limited to § 9-704 of the Environmental Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.