Calera considers lowering water tap fee

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Calera Water Works Board soon may consider lowering its connection fees for out-of-city customers looking to tie into Calera water lines.

Currently, the Water Works Department charges a $2,300 tap fee for any non-city resident who connects to city water lines using a 3/4-inch line. City residents not already connected to city water pay a $1,300 tap fee.

However, members of the Calera Water Works board of directors Tuesday discussed lowering the out-of-city fee to attract more customers.

“There are some people, especially in South Calera, who have expressed interest in tapping into city water,” explained Calera Public Works Director David Jones. “It’s no additional cost to us if they live outside the city compared to someone who lives in the city.

“It’s better to have a customer paying a lower tap fee than to not have that customer at all,” Jones added.

In addition to the tap fee, new water customers also must pay to have water lines run from the city water line to their residence. Out-of-city residents also pay a “slightly higher” rate for city water, Jones said.

Though Jones said lowering the out-of-city tap fee would provide the department extra revenue, some board members said they would be hesitant to make the tap fee the same for residents living inside and outside the city.

“The people in the city have already paid a whole lot in the form of taxes and things like that,” said Ben Carr, the water board’s engineer. “With some differential in the tap fees, there’s an incentive for people outside the city to come in.”

“I’d love to see the fee come down for people living outside the city, but I don’t think it should be the same as the in-city fee,” said board member Ernest Montgomery, who is also the city’s District 2 councilman.

The board took no action on the matter Tuesday, but Jones urged board members to consider the change over the next several weeks.

“We’re not really pressed to make a decision on this today,” Jones said. “Let’s take time to think about it and then make a decision later.”