LIMA — Due to a resolution passed by Allen County Commissioners, builders of residential housing can now tap into the public water and sewer systems for a reduced rate of $1,500 compared to the earlier $8,900 fee.
Greater Lima Region Inc. President/CEO Jeff Sprague said the reduction should spur housing development that is needed to attract a larger workforce to the county.
The initiative began with conversations between the City of Lima Director of Utilities Mike Caprella and Allen County Sanitary Engineer Steve Kayatin roughly a year ago. Sprague began to push the effort along when he heard from builders about the need for a reduction.
The Allen County commissioners were the last governmental body to act on the fee reduction. The Allen Water District board of trustees and the City of Lima had made similar moves earlier this month.
John Brunk, the project manager of the development located near the intersection of Eastown and Allentown roads called Country Aire Estates, said he’s starting to see the demand for developed lots pick up and the reduction in fees paid by future home owners should help in that aspect.
He said an eighth of his available lots now have commitments, and he takes calls every day from individuals interested in buying the rest.
“I do appreciate the local authorities that have recognized these fees can be a deterrent in people building,” Brunk said.
Representatives from the county, city, water district and Greater Lima Region Inc. were on hand to celebrate the reduction during a press conference held an hour after commissioners voted on the measure.
“We all think it’s going to be a great advantage for the community,” City of Lima Finance Director Steve Cleaves said.
“We’re more than happy being a part of this and making it happen,” Caprella said.
“I think it will have a huge impact on economic development, housing development,” Greater Lima Region Inc. Board Chairman Mike Swick said.
He further explained that attracting workforce in the community to fill some of the available jobs has been a struggle, but creating a robust housing market should help convince the workforce to make the move into the region and spark outside investment.
Sprague said the fee reduction should make Lima more competitive in attracting investors to develop housing. Lima’s low cost of living, especially when it comes to rental properties, already makes it difficult to convince developers to invest when they could make more money in high-rent areas, such as Columbus.
“Any cost savings on the front end will make it more attractive,” Sprague said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.