By Heather Mullinix
Members of the Tansi Sewer Utility District would like to see all property owners with sewer availability help pay for the infrastructure costs that enhance the value of empty property.
Jim Heath said at the Aug. 26 meeting of the board, "I have the basic feeling that, if I have an empty lot and you put a sewer line in front of it, you have enhanced my property and enhanced the value of my property. For me to sit there for 30 years and not contribute to the operations from either an infrastructure or ongoing basis doesn't seem to be appropriate."
Heath wanted the board to look at other availability or abutment fees.
Attorney Don Scholes explained the utility district board did not have the authority to charge an availability fee on property without structures, and that such action would have to come through the county commission.
Heath asked, "We should make a formal resolution and tell our commissioners we want them to pursue this option."
Heath suggested the county could offer some type of long-term financing, possibly through an additional fee on yearly property taxes.
Claude "Duke" Coyne, general manager, said it was a question legal counsel would need to explore, both for the utility and the county.
Newly elected county commissioners Joe Koester and Jan McNeil were both present at the meeting.
Koester said, "We know about as much as you do right now. I think the sooner we get the information, the better."
The availability fee is set at $1,500 and is payable once the sewer line is within 500 feet of property with a structure.