Sewer tap fees, building permit numbers hit record lows

During Thursday night’s Alabaster City Council meeting, Councilman Tommy Ryals read a report detailing the number of building permits and sewer hook-ups issued during the month of April.

And the third-term councilman was shocked at what he saw.

Ryals announced that only four building permits had been issued during the month of April, bringing the total up to 15 for the year.

That’s 77 less than the total of 92 that were issued during the same time-span in 2007.

“This year is extremely slow. We’ve always tried to logically and reasonably control growth, but this is ridiculous,” Ryals said with a laugh. “This is beyond anything we can control. It’s the economy.”

As a result of the low number of building permits issued in April, there were zero sewer tap fees collected for the same month.

A builder or homeowner must pay a tap fee every time a new home is connected to the city’s sewer line.

“I have never seen, in my eight years, zero tap fees for a month,” Ryals said.

Although the lack of tap fee revenue could affect the operating budget, Ryals said the city did estimate on the low side due to last year’s slumping economy.

“We usually estimate on the low side just to be safe,” Ryals said. “We did estimate much, much lower in tap fees based on last year.”