MANATEE -- To support Manatee County's policy of growth paying for growth, the county's Wastewater Facility Investment Fee rates will increase.
The fee, a type of impact fee, will increase from $2,315 per equivalent residential connection to $3,027 per equivalent residential connection effective Oct. 1.
The proposed fees, which pay for extension to new service areas of the county sanitary sewer collection system, will vary based on meter size, according to Dan Schlandt, deputy county administrator.
With the current rates, which have not been adjusted since 2006, the county takes a loss when it installs service for a development because the fees do not cover costs, according to county officials.
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"This is not a panacea to solve all problems related to utilities expansion," Schlandt said. "I think it gives us the best structure going forward to have the utility system be financially responsive."
Public Resources Management Group Inc. reviewed the county's wastewater transmission line extension fee for the wastewater utility
Commissioner Charles Smith asked what the increase in rates would do to affordable housing being constructed in the county.
Schlandt responded by saying "not a real significant amount.
"As costs go up of constructing and building the homes, it makes things less easily afforded by certain segments of the population," he said.
Commissioner Carol Whitmore said new development has to pay for itself.
"You determined that we have to raise rates to say new growth is paying for itself," she said. "It's not fair to have taxpayers pay for new growth."
On Tuesday, the commission also approved changes to the terms of payment agreements for the fees. The current agreements charge an 8 percent annual interest rate, which will change to every year on Jan. 1 the interest rate will be established using the Prime Interest Rate plus 3 percent for all agreements entered into that year, according to agenda materials. The maximum time frame for repayment was reduced from 15 years to 10 years.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.