Developer impact fees considered

Published 10:50 am Thursday, September 4, 2008

Officials with the city of Troy may begin charging an impact fee to developers tapping into the city’s water and sewer lines.

The fee would offset the cost of future upgrades to the city’s water and sewer systems needed to accommodate continued development, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said.

“As you grow the size of your system you have to expand your treatment plant and collection lines to accommodate the growth,” Lunsford said. “People who are adding the growth and reaping the benefit from the development should offset some of the cost.”

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A draft water and sewer connection charge ordinance was presented to members of the city council at the group’s meeting last week. That draft contained a fee of $1,500 per connection — $750 for water and $750 for sewer.

That figure was just a placeholder, Lunsford said. The actual amount that will be suggested to the city council is still being researched.

“We are still trying to get a feel for what is a fair price,” Lunsford said.

Troy City Council President Johnny Witherington said he expects the council to endorse the impact fees.

“Developers should help offset the cost of furnishing utilities to their developments,” Witherington said. “Most cities already (charge impact fees.) It’s something we are going to have to look at. To what degree? At this point I don’t know.”

Area cities including Auburn, Millbrook, Opelika, Ozark and Prattville all charge impact or connection fees ranging from $250 to as high as $5,000.

Witherington said the city eventually will have to expand its utility system to accommodate the increased demand created by new subdivisions, apartment complexes and other developments.

“We are looking at several million dollars in improvements that need be done over the next several years,” Witherington said.

The city has not set a date for reviewing the proposed ordinance. Lunsford said he does not anticipate impact fees to start any earlier than the beginning of 2009.