Monday, April 22, 2024
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Cookeville Officials Will Consider Plans For Sewage Capacity Fees

Cookeville officials will begin work on new proposals for sewage capacity fees.

That after a Monday roundtable with city council members and at least six developers. They discussed the issue of how much costs developers should cover when it comes to such fees.

Developer Chad Gilbert said that he believes they should contribute to the cost, but covering the full amount could inhibit needed development.

“You grab it from one source or another,” Gilbert said. “You take it all to the rate payers, you’d get riots immediately. You take it all to us, you maybe tap the brakes a little artificially on something you don’t want to happen. So that’s what I was trying to propose.”

Developer Aaron Bernhardt agreed that if he had to front the entire cost of capacity, it could slow down his development process.

“Not speaking for others, but someone from a smaller town like this, I won’t be able to do five subdivisions at a time, I’ll probably do one,” Bernhardt said. “Or might only be able to do 20 lots at a time. So it might take us longer to produce.”

Part of the roundtable was whether the fees should be for only large residential and commercial developments or for any new development.

“It just makes sense to me that, to help fund this with new building it shouldn’t be just a subdivision this should be for any house that’s going to take more sewage capacity,” Mayor Ricky Shelton said. “But an item that’s going to take more sewer capacity should have the same contribution in some capacity.”

Water Department Director Designee Barry Turner said that the sewer capacity fees would be used for much-needed upgrades on certain sewer service basins, but are too expensive for a single development to justify. He said that the city has had to turn away some developers in basins per the TDEC approved Capacity Assurance Program.

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