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Water-Related News

Sarasota looks at restoring utility impact fees

Water and sewer impact fees could return to the city after a nearly five-year hiatus.

City commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted to set a public hearing on the matter after a plea from Public Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell, who lamented the loss the revenues that could have funded major projects.

The hearing will be held at the commission's regular meeting on Feb. 16.

The city has completed $13 million worth of utilities projects since impact fee collection stopped, Tidwell said.

“If we had been collecting impact fees and had sufficient funding, about $3 million could have been used for those projects because they're growth-related,” he told commissioners. “That's about 25 percent of those costs.”

An estimated $65 million in new utilities projects appear on the horizon, Tidwell said. If the city resumes water and sewer impact fees now, it could generate some $16 million to help offset those future costs.

“We need to do this,” said Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell.

According to city code, the fees start at $3,477 and climb as high as $278,160, depending on the new development's meter size. City Manager Tom Barwin said those fees wouldn't change if the city resumes collection.