Doubled Fees Only Part Of Rehrmann Water Hike

May 26, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann has proposed creating two new fees that would add more than $2,500 to the cost of connecting a new home to county water and sewer services.

She's also proposing the county double the water and sewer service fees homeowners pay annually.

The two new fees and the increase in the service charge are beingproposed as a way to generate new revenues so the county can make improvements to its public water and sewer systems, say county administrators.

The two new fees Rehrmann is seeking are called system development fees. They would be assessed in addition to the usual $1,650connection fee new homeowners and businesses pay to connect to county water and sewer lines. The development fees also could apply to some businesses depending on the amount of water and or sewer service they would use.

The proposal now before the County Council would create an $821 water system development fee and a $1,769 sewer system development fee.

The development fees, which total $2,517, would be charged on a one time basis to properties that have not received a building permit as of Dec. 31, 1991. Under the proposed legislation, the fees would increase 6 percent per year.

In the 1991-1992 fiscal year, the water system development fee would generate an estimated $800,000, said the county treasurer. The sewer system development fee would generate an estimated $1.5 million in the same time period. Thatmoney would be used to pay principal and interest payments on a $22 million water and sewer bond issue expected to be borrowed in the market this fall.

The council also is considering a Rehrmann proposalto raise the fees charged annually for using water and sewer services for residents of new homes. The proposal calls for the water and sewer services fees, now $35 each, to increase to $70 each. But if you owned your home or had a building permit before Dec. 31, 1991, your annual water and sewer fees would remain at $35 each, under the proposed legislation.

James M. Jewell, the county treasurer, said the money generated by the development fees and the increase in the servicecharge would be used to pay for about $100 million in water and sewage projects needed to keep pace with residential growth.

Those projects include the expansion of the Sod Run sewage treatment plant andtapping into Baltimore City's aqueduct, which runs through the county from the Susquehanna River to the city.

Jewell said the legislation also would allow the county to charge higher system development fees if water and sewer service requirements are greater than the normal household demand.

Larry Klimovitz, director of administration, said by assessing $140 annually in water and sewer fees on new homes,current county residents won't have to pay for the improvements necessitated by the county's growth.

Another benefit, argued Klimovitz, is the proposal calls for the higher water and sewer annual usage fee to be paid for 25 years on a property. It would transfer from one owner to another.

"This keeps the upfront charge on a house lower;it won't be built into the price of a house," Klimovitz said.

"Itwould also provide a more steady stream of revenue. The new person coming in with the new system development fee would pay $140 a year inuser fees for 25 years, so you're not dependent on the number of building permits you issued each year, as you are with hook-up fees. Youcan count on that money for 25 years."

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