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Simpsonville's sewer ordinance ups impact fees by 33 percent

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By Steve Doyle

If you are planning to build a new home in Simpsonville, it is going to  cost you a bit more to hook up to the city’s sewers.

In its passage Wednesday morning of a new comprehensive sewer ordinance, the Simpsonville City Commission boosted the connection fee by 33 percent – to $2,000.

That higher tap-on fee will affect only the construction of new homes in the city. City Administrator David Eaton said that he believes all existing homes and buildings in the city – “except for maybe one” – already are on the system.

He said the $2000, which is higher than similar charges in Shelbyville, are to defray the cost of the sewer plant the city constructed.

“We invested one and a half million dollars in that plant,” he said. “And we are not asking our current citizens to pay for that. This is only for new construction.”

Shelbyville Water & Sewer Commission handles the only other such system in the county, which includes the city and some county residents surrounding it. Builders – or homeowners tapping onto the system for the first time – pay $759 into the sewer development fund. A developer pays to install the water and sewer infrastructure.

Eaton said that he expected that the first time that someone came in for a permit to build a house that the builder would complain. “I’m sure they’ll say something,” he said, “but they pass that along to the buyer in the cost of the home.”

This ordinance, which comprises a voluminous amount of ordinances and amendments, also includes a greater late fee – 20 percent – for customers who don’t pay their bills on time.

Mayor Steve Eden said there had been an increase in customers paying their fees late, and the city was spending too much time and money dealing with that. “We’re hoping this will be an incentive for the customer to pay on time,” he said.

This comprehensive ordinance finishes a process that has lasted more than a year. Eaton held his hand about five feet from the floor when describing the number of documents that had to be compressed into one. Attorney William Brammell assisted in the process.

“I told some of the folks who first created the system back in 1980 and ’81 what we were going to do, and they said they were happy that we had accomplished this,” Eden said..

“Back then, they were drafting ordinances and amendments as things emerged. That’s why  we had so many documents. They couldn’t really help it”

  Building moratorium extended

As part of the city’s adoption earlier this month of its new long-range plan to develop a city center, commissioners passed on first reading an extension of the ban on new building they had put in place last December.

The goal is to ensure that there are no new building projects in the core of the city that don’t adhere to the concept of the plans. If passed on second reading, this extension would continue until Jan. 31, 2010.

  Other action

§       Commissioners learned that with one month to go, the city is operating almost exactly on budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year. Eden congratulated the group for “keeping us on budget with a lot of efficiency.”

§       The city will print new brochures to distribute to developers and businesses interested in Simpsonville.

§       The city will pay its Web developers a small fee to change some of the under-the-hood options for its new Web site (www.cityofsimpsonville.com).