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"Impact Fees" Could Jack up Your SAWS Bill

 
Posted Monday, March 31st 2014 @ 5am  by Jim Forsyth

With San Antonio experiencing massive growth and new homes being constructed at a near record rate, the question of who should pay to hook those new homes up to the San Antonio Water System will emerge this eek, and may pit developers against ratepayers, 1200 WOAI news reports.

The SAWS board will decide whether to charge developers the full $2,796 per home charge, called an 'impact fee,' to hook an estimated 95,817 new homes that will be built in the city over the coming decade up to the SAWS water and sewer system.

"We have always charged impact fees to new development, to pay for the impact that development has on the water and sewer system and on our water supply," SAWS Vice President Greg Flores told 1200 WOAI news.

State laws don't mandate that SAWS charge developers the maximum, or that the water utility charge developers anything at all for hooking up to the water system.  Developers who serve on the SAWS Capital Improvements Advisory Committee are suggesting that the impact fees be slashed to $1,590 per home, on the argument that all San Antonians benefit from growth, so all San Antonians should share in the cost.

And Flores says that's exactly what would happen if the impact fee were set at that level.

"If it is not paid by developers, it would be paid by rate payers," he said.

He says the result would be a 2.57% increase in your monthly SAWS bill, spread out over the coming ten years.

The environmental group Greater Edwards Aquifer Authority is urging the SAWS board to approve the full $2,796 per new home fee for developers.

 "Since many of these new developments will likely be on the Edward Aquifer Recharge, Transition, and Contributing Zones, GEAA objects to requiring all citizens of San Antonio to subsidize new development, GEAA Executive Director Annalisa Peace said.

Peace points out that local taxpayers already to plenty of subsidizing of new development, from stretching water and sewer lines to new subdivisions, to paying for maintaining streets, to dealing with additional traffic congestion.

The issue will go to the City Council after the SAWS Board has it's say...and a final ruling is expected in May.

 

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