The Washington Board of Public Works will further study changing the water and sewer connection fees charged by the city and will not recommend taking over grinder pumps in proposed annexation areas.
Jim Briggs, city administrator, brought the fees to the board’s attention Tuesday in an attempt to try and figure out the cost for those who may be brought into the city’s system through annexation.
“We would like to let the people in the annexation area know what kind of additional expenses they could incur if they annex into the city and they receive our services,” he said.
Briggs said the water connection fees were last reviewed in 1992 and sewer connection fees were reviewed in 1997.
He provided the board with a review of what area municipalities charge.
The city of Washington currently charges a “tap fee” based on the size of the connection and materials, and a connection fee based on the size service connection. For example, a three-fourths-inch service connection is charged $250. A 1-inch connection is $350, up to a 12-inch connection, which is $5,000.
Most residential homes are on a three-fourths -inch or 1-inch connection, said Kevin Quaethem, water/wastewater superintendent.
The connection fee is charged out of the engineering department and the tap fee is charged from the board of public works.
The tap fee is to reimburse the public works department for labor, while the connection fee is to try to amortize the cost of line extensions, wells, tanks, etc.
Quaethem said the tap fees cover the costs his department incurs on an average tap.
The contractor is responsible for digging the line, exposing the line, putting the saddle on and getting it ready for the tap.
At the time the public sewer is connected to existing public sewers, the owner pays a $500 fee, plus a $500 fee per acre up to a maximum connection fee of $2,000 at the time the connection is made, or after construction, the city can apportion ground served by the sewer at an assessment of $750 per acre, up to a maximum assessment of $2,250 for three or more lots or a piece of ground. The city would then bear the remainder of the cost of construction.
If a homeowner is within 200 feet of a connection, they are required to connect within 90 days, Briggs noted.
Subdivisions that already have a water and sewer system infrastructure, like Meadowlake Farms, would not be charged any fees, he said.
The Board of Public Works also discussed the possibility of maintaining grinder pumps on annexed properties, but ultimately decided the pumps should remain the homeowner’s responsibility after annexation.
Briggs outlined what other districts do including charging a deposit or assessing a monthly fee for grinder pump users that would be used for pump maintenance.
Since the city currently does not maintain grinder pumps, board members agreed that it would be best not to take on the added maintenance.
The sewer, water connection fees will be studied and revisited next month.