The Addis Town Council voted Wednesday to raise the town’s sewer impact fee by more than four times the original rate after hearing a recommendation by the town’s engineer.
Oscar Boudreaux, Addis Town Engineer, said that the town is currently charging a $350 sewer impact fee per lot, which is “about 30 percent of the old number and a lot less than the new number” of $1,500.
“I recommend that you go up on the impact fee because otherwise you’re going to find yourself, in the future, having to make some improvements with no funds available,” Boudreaux explained to the council.
David Toups, Addis Mayor, said Monday afternoon, that the council followed Boudreaux’s recommendation to begin collecting $1,500 in sewer impact fees from new developments because the more developments tie into the town’s sewer lines, the more stress gets put on the sewer lines.
“What it is, is the impact it’s putting on the drainage in Addis,” explained Toups. “We’ve got to look out at what we can do to help the sewer system in the future and help maintain it.”
Toups said that the sewer impact fee does not apply to current residents of Addis, only new developments and project being built that tie into the town’s sewer lines.
“The fee is just for new developments mainly, because everywhere else has already been paid,” he said.
During the meeting, before making his recommendation, Boudreaux told the council that several pump stations in the town would soon be in need of maintenance, adding that the town would be losing money if they didn’t do something soon.
“We’re going to have to make improvements to Bernhart, that’s a guarantee. We’re going to have to make some improvements to Addis Lane,” he said. “So you’ve got some financial costs coming up, but you need to generate the revenues or go up on your user fees.”
He went on to explain the current $350 sewer impact fee should have progressively increased since 2000, but since it remained the same amount, a considerable gap has occurred in what the fee is and what it should be.
“I think we missed the boat back in 2000 - when you go from $300 to $1,500 you missed something somewhere,” said councilman Lance Gauthreaux.
Dana Larpenteur, Addis Town Attorney, explained that the council simply never revisited the fee to increase it with time, adding that they still had the power to do so.
“You have implemented, back in 2000, an impact fee that encompasses both the impact to treatment and future impact to the system itself. We’ve only been collecting the impact fee for treatment thus far,” said Dana Larpenteur, Addis Town Attorney. “Our ordinance provides that it is set from time to time based upon the recommendation of the town engineer, the sewer people, approved by the mayor and council.”
Boudreaux then made the official recommendation to simply increase the fee to what it is currently costing the town and no more than that.
“I’m not in it to make a profit, I’m just in it to recover our costs,” Boudreaux said. “Fifteen-hundred dollars recovers our costs today.”
The council voted unanimously to increase the sewer impact fee from $350 to $1,500.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to purchase another Chevrolet Tahoe for the police department after Addis P.D. Chief Ricky Anderson began a discussion about the possibility of a new vehicle.
The police department recently purchased a Tahoe, which is to be delivered before the year’s end.
Toups said that the additional purchase would be reflected in an amended 2014 budget.
“The deadline to order another police unit under the 2014 contract is coming up at the end of the month, so we felt like it was time to get another one in there because we’ve got some motor cars that are really having some issues,” explained Toups. “We went ahead and ordered the second one, so we’ll just amend the budget in the near future to reflect that.”
Toups said he expects the second Tahoe to be delivered in 2015.