Middlesex to change development fees

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MIDDLESEX — A 45-day public review and comment period begins today for the town of Middlesex’s proposed water and sewer system development fees.

The fees will replace impact fees currently in place for new and existing construction in accordance with House Bill 436, which state lawmakers passed in July 2017.

Officials said a document describing the fees is available on the town website, www.townofmiddlesexnc.org.

The public review follows Monday’s Middlesex Board of Commissioners meeting, where Cecil Rhodes, an analyst with public works contractor Envirolink, presented his analysis of the town’s current fee structure and the recommendation to amend the town budget to include the system development fee in order to comply with state law.

“Basically, it boils down to your customers in town have paid money to build a system that can serve more than the number of customers you have now. And you charged acreage fees and impact fees to help collect that money from new people that connected. But the legislature came in and said you can’t charge acreage fees and impact fees the way you have been. You have to calculate it and call it a system development fee,” Rhodes said. “You have to design it that way, because you don’t want to have to build something tomorrow if a guy decides to build a house tomorrow.”

Rhodes said everything in the analysis is designed on a “per-residence or per-house cost.”

The analysis will be available on the town’s website through Nov. 23, and a public hearing to address the comments and make any necessary revisions before adopting it as a supplement to the annual budget already in place will be held during the December town meeting.

Existing fees being charged such as the acreage and lots fees cost builders an average of $3,261. The new system development fees are estimated to be $3,337.

Rhodes recommended the board adjust the fee to a standard $3,330 that would apply to all individual residential units regardless of meter size. In accordance with the statute, a municipality cannot charge more than the total system development fee calculated within the analysis. The proposed analysis would be used for the next five years upon adoption into the budget.

The board also discussed the annual holiday parade, Christmas~N~Middlesex, on Saturday, Dec. 8. Forms are now available at Town Hall for vendors and registrants. The vendor area will open at 10 a.m. and the parade will start at 2 p.m.

In other business, the water tower is scheduled to be painted in November. The legs and railing will be dark blue, and the tank will be a light color with the Middlesex banner displayed on either side.

The town is also shopping for quotes to replace the roof on the police department building, make improvements to the Hanes Avenue Community Park and to buy a new chipper to replace the old one, which was purchased in 1992.