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Business utilities fees up for vote

The City Council will consider final approval tonight for an ordinance increasing sewer and water impact fees for new commercial users in the city. The proposed ordinances, which received tentative approval at the council's Jan. 23 meeting, would bring the commercial fees in line with Pasco County's fees, city utilities director Gary Deremer said.

The new scale would charge non-residential users based on the amount of water and sewer service that certain users require, he said.

For example, a coin-operated laundry, medical clinic or hospital uses much more water and sewer service than a retail sales outlet or warehouse.

The current impact fee scale allows any commercial user to pay the same amount, based on the number of water and sewer fixtures in the building. A toilet, sink or shower is considered one fixture.

The average home has no more than 16 fixtures, and the homeowner pays a one-time $1,200 sewer impact fee and $225 water impact fee, Deremer said. Non-residential users have paid the same impact fee, plus an additional impact fee for each fixture over 16.

Under the ordinance, the commercial users would pay based on their type of business and the diameter of pipe needed to handle their water and sewage.

For example, a retail store with 16 fixtures would pay a $1,235 sewer impact fee and $348 water impact fee, a restaurant would pay a $3,390 sewer impact fee and a $1,168 water impact fee, and a coin-operated laundry would pay $3,478 for sewer and $1,107 for water.

"It's a fairer way to charge the people," Deremer said.

Although many non-residential users have not been billed for impact fees yet, the proposal would affect only new commercial users who come to Port Richey.