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Sarasota Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 6 years ago

City considers restoring water and sewer impact fees

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In 2011, the city agreed to suspend the fee on new developments for more than a decade. With the building climate improving, the City Commission will discuss reversing that decision.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

On Tuesday, the City Commission will discuss reinstating a fee on developers that officials believe could lighten the load of new construction on water and sewer infrastructure.

At its next meeting, the commission is scheduled to consider restoring water and sewer impact fees, which have been suspended in the city since 2011. At the last meeting, Commissioner Susan Chapman and Mayor Willie Shaw both expressed an interest in revisiting the city’s impact fee policies as a response to the ongoing level of construction.

The fees were halted during a fallow period for building. A report from a city consultant at the time stated suspending the fees would have a minimal impact on the city’s utility system. The commission voted to suspend the collection of impact fees until January 2022, though the ordinance has a provision for resuming the charge before that date.

If the impact fees were in place in 2015, the city would have collected approximately $1 million, according to documents included with Tuesday’s meeting agenda. That revenue could be used on restoring water and wastewater mains or rehabilitating lift stations, staff wrote.

The fee schedule currently in place dates back to 2005. The charge for connecting to the city’s water and sewer systems ranges between $3,477 for a 5/8-inch meter and $278,160 for an 8-inch meter, depending on the size of the development. According to staff, the largest current connection in the city is a 6-inch meter for Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Moving Day

Also at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, the board will discuss placing a referendum on the November ballot that, if approved, would move municipal elections from the spring to the fall.

Even if the commission were to approve the referendum Tuesday, it would likely hold off on final approval until after the state legislative session. The legislature is considering a bill that would grant the county supervisor of elections control of setting the date of municipal elections.

The full agenda for Tuesday's meeting can be found on the city website.

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