Due to slower-than-expected economic growth, city of Blaine officials are asking the city council to re-implement water and sewer connection fees for new development within city limits.
At their April 23 meeting (tonight), Blaine City Council members will vote on a resolution returning water and sewer connection fees to their 2009 amounts. If passed, the resolution would take effect January 1, 2013.
In 2009, Blaine City Council members voted to reduce connection fees within city limits to zero in an attempt to spur new development in the city. The zero-fee plan was proposed to last for five years, but city officials have determined not enough revenue has been raised through development sans-connection fee to make up the revenue brought in by the fees.
“It was determined [in 2009] that there was enough revenue from customer rates to pay for [water and sewer] debt service, operation and maintenance,” Blaine Public Works director Ravyn Whitewolf wrote in a request for city council action. “Because the intended growth incentive has not been as successful as hoped, our utility customers are facing even higher rates to pay down the debt.”
If approved by city council, the fees will return to $5,794 per residential unit for sewer connections both inside and outside the city limits and $2,325 per residential unit for water connections within the city limits. The city will charge $3487.50 per residential unit for water connections outside the city limits.
If they fees are re-implemented, city officials expect to raise approximately $200,000 in revenue each year. City officials predict the fee re-implementation will keep sewer rates below $100 per month.
Last December, Blaine City Council members approved a 10 percent increase in sewer rates, which pushed the average resident’s bill from $90 per month to $99. Water rates were not increased.
City council members will vote on the resolution at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers. Click here for the full text of the resolution, and click here for tonight’s full council agenda.