Group pushes parcel fees to pay for lake cleanup

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) A group of Vermont business, municipal, and environmental leaders are pushing a plan to pay for Lake Champlain's hefty cleanup costs with parcel fees.

At the Statehouse Friday officials from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vermont League of Cities and Towns and other groups voiced support for two Senate bills that would create a Clean Water Authority. They say the authority should be independent in collecting and disbursing revenue from the fee, not a state agency.

Under one of the bills by Senator Chris Bray, D-Addison County, property owners would pay a $1 per month fee. Bray has said it would generate $4.5 million a year.

Governor Phil Scott has repeatedly opposed adding any new fees or taxes. Instead, administration officials have proposed using $22 million a year for water quality improvements from the state's capital bill.

Policy makers estimate the state will have to spend $1 billion over the next 20 years to address the toxic algae and phosphorous problems in the lake.