Allen County discusses tap-in fee reduction, wants input

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Allen County Commissioners and the Allen County Sanitary Engineering Department have begun deliberations concerning the reduction of sewer and water tap-in fees in order to encourage construction and business investment.

The City of Lima, Allen Water District and Allen County tend to structure their fees around a larger upfront payment and lower monthly bills, while other Ohio municipalities require a lower up front fee and costlier monthly bills. By aligning local utility fee structures with the latter model, the county may be able to take some of the bite out the initial cost of running sewer and water lines to new buildings.

The initial proposal calls for reducing the water and sewer capital permit fee by $2,000 to $500 per single family unit for those outside of the city and Allen Water District.

“Let’s try to spread out the expense to the customer over time,” Sanitary Engineer Steve Kayatin said. “That’s kind of how we’re trying to fashion our solutions to be more competitive with how we structure our fees.”

Kayatin said reducing the sewer fee won’t cause too many problems as recuperating the cost through monthly county sewer bills won’t put undue strain on the system. However, since the county tap-in fee funds the county’s water line projects, such as line replacement, state-required reroutes or extensions, reducing it could decrease the source of the $364,000 dedicated to water line projects.

The county does not collect monthly water fees. The City of Lima, as the source of water in the county, provides much of the county’s water services, including billing and collection.

Since the conversations are still in their initial stages, Allen County Commissioners and Kayatin have yet to decide the best way of recouping the funds lost by a water tap-in fee reduction. No official actions have been taken.

During a Tuesday meeting, commissioners asked Kayatin to meet with the Allen Economic Development Group and members of Greater Lima Region, Inc. to discuss if the business community has any recommendations.

Kayatin said he will also be meeting with those in charge of City of Lima utilities and Allen Water District officials to see what might be done to reduce initial costs across the board.

“We don’t want to just be competing. We want to be offering a position where we’re attractive,” Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan said. “We’ve heard that there were concerns, and we’re working with Steve on the sanitary and water side to decide, ‘How do we address concerns that are out there?’”

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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