Tue, July 23

Hook-up fees waived <br>Assessment costs slated to be out this week

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Sandra and Chuck Chandler (foreground), residents of Reddell Ranch Acres, were among approximately 30 residents attending Wednesday's sewer district board meeting. They, like others, were there to find out more about the costs they face for the new sewer lines and the upgrading of the existing out-of-compliance aerated lagoon system plant. Actual assessment costs to individual property owners are expected to be released this week.

True to his word, board member Wes Mauldin made a motion Wednesday afternoon that the board waive hook-up fees to qualifying applicants.

According to the motion that received unanimous board support, residents and commercial property owners, who have been paying the tax since the original district was formed in 1983, are eligible to receive a $500 credit for hook-up fees. The hook up must occur within six months of the new plant being commissioned or an application filed, with hook-up completed within 30 days beyond the six-month time frame.

Any residential or commercial property owner that was annexed into the district in 1993 will receive a $250 credit with the same time-frame restrictions.

Current hook-up fees are $500 for single-family residences and 50 cents per square foot for commercial.

More than 300 business and residential property owners will benefit from the new sewer lines going through Camp Verde. The lines will affect those living in Reddell Ranch Acres and Fort River Caves Subdivisions as well as existing businesses at the Interstate 17 and Arizona 260 interchange.

Many without sewer benefits have complained about the ad valorum taxes, requesting the district provide some type of credit.

Board member George Young told the audience of about 30 residents at the Wednesday afternoon meeting that he was given a hook-up waiver when he connected to the original sewer several years ago. He said this board owed the same courtesy to those who have paid for years without the benefit of sewer.

Chair Suzy Burnside confirmed that the board had the jurisdiction to make the decision to waive hook-up fees. When asked by audience member Winn Hjalmarson if the loss of hook-up fees would cause a deficit at some later date, Burnside replied "no."

She explained that from a budget standpoint, hook-up fees go toward items such as training of staff members. User fees are earmarked for operation and maintenance.

Actual assessment costs that will be charged to property owners were not yet available at the Nov. 14 meeting. Burnside said they were expected this week and should be available by Nov. 15 at the district office.

She advised that although the protest period for "size and the extent" of the district closes Nov. 15, there will be another protest period once the assessments are released. Twenty-nine protests have been received to date and the board will further discuss that aspect at its special Nov. 16 meeting slated for 1 p.m.