Debate on sewer fees dominates council legislative session

Debate on sewer fees dominates council legislative session
File photo

By Missy Schrott |

Correction: The original article said residents would be responsible for an increased sewer connection fee. It is developers of commercial or residential redevelopments, not residents, who pay for connection to the city’s sanitary sewer system. The Times regrets the error.

The Alexandria City Council heard the introduction and first reading of a proposed ordinance regarding sewer connection fees at its legislative session Tuesday night.

Council spent the majority of the legislative meeting discussing the proposed ordinance to Section 5-6-25.1 of the city code, which would amend fee structures for connecting to the sanitary sewer system.

In 2013, fees were increased for residential units wanting to connect to the city’s sewer system. This change was due to the surge in usage the sewer system was seeing from residential units at certain times of the day.

The amendment establishes a phase-in period. While applicants requesting a sewer service connection will eventually pay the full increased fee after July 2019, the phase-in is designed to ease the process. Developers of commercial or residential redevelopments will be responsible for 50 percent of the increased fee if building is approved before June 30, 2018, and 75 percent before June 30, 2019.

The ordinance was passed by a narrow 4-3 vote, with Vice Mayor Justin Wilson and Councilors Paul Smedberg, John Chapman and Willie Bailey voting yes, and Mayor Allison Silberberg and councilors Del Pepper and Tim Lovain voting no. The measure will move on to a second reading at the public hearing on Saturday, where it could be enacted, despite not being recommended by the city manager.