New local pollution fee could make local manufacturing more expensive

A proposal that could increase air pollution control fees paid by more than 600 companies in the region to the tune of several thousands of dollars is seeing growing opposition.

Public Health — Dayton and Montgomery County is considering the new fees for local manufacturers and utilities its Regional Air Pollution Control Agency oversee in six counties in the Dayton region.

A new fee of $125 for each permitted air pollution emissions unit has been proposed, according to a letter written in July by Jennifer Marsee, who oversees the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency. Dayton Power and Light could pay up to a total of $27,250 in new annual charges under the proposal, according to numbers provided by the health department.

The fee increase would particularly impact small manufacturers, which feel fee increases in their small budgets, said Jim Bowman, chairman of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association.

“To a 30-person manufacturing organization, it’s difficult to absorb that impact,” he said.

The Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, which is responsible for implementing and enforcing air pollution regulations for industrial sources, began notifying companies of the new fees this summer.

“The proposed changes will bring PHDMC’s RAPCA funding more in line with other local air agencies in the state and country,” Marsee’s letter to one local manufacturer said.

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The anticipated revenue to the department from the new fees is $200,000 to $240,000 a year, said Dan Suffoletto, a spokesman for Public Health.

Bowman, also chief operating officer at Rack Processing Co. in Moraine, said the company currently pays $450 to the Ohio EPA for permits but the proposed change would have Rack pay an additional $2,750 in fees.

He said another challenge is that if fees increase in Montgomery County, that can make it more difficult for industry to compete with outside communities with lower fees. For example, if his company was in the South West Ohio Air Pollution Control Agency (SWOAPCA) region like in Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties, it would only pay $425 to that agency, compared to the $2,750 that RAPCA is proposing for the Dayton region.

“There are numerous businesses that will struggle with these unanticipated costs,” Stephanie Precht of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce testified during a recent hearing.

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RAPCA needs to more strategically engage the business community in these discussions, said Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the chamber

“Their proposed fee increases would significantly impact a number of businesses. It would be wise to delay the consideration of these increases and engage the business community,” Kershner said.

RAPCA and Public Health oversee 631 facilities in the county, Suffoletto said. Generally, the larger and more complex the facility, the higher the possible fee, he said. RAPCA itself oversees pollution in six counties.

Suffoletto could not immediately say how much the new fee would cost other large local industrial sources, such as Fuyao Glass America or Cargill in Harrison Twp.

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He said the Board of Health has reviewed the fee structure twice, and the proposal may get a final reading in October.

First, an information session for business owners likely to be affected by the fee is set for 2 p.m. Sept. 18, at the county’s Business Solutions Center, 1435 Cincinnati St., Dayton.

Suffoletto said the proposal does not directly affect the public. “Right now, we’re also accepting comments from the public, but it’s basically businesses,” he said.

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Proposed fee increase

Public Health — Dayton and Montgomery County is considering a new fee of $125 for each permitted air pollution emissions unit at a company in six area counties.

An information session for business owners affected by the fee is set for 2 p.m. Sept. 18, at the Montgomery County Business Solutions Center, 1435 Cincinnati St., Dayton.