Under current law the fees localities set for the connection of water and sewer service must be “fair and reasonable.” SB 1569 (Reeves) would change that standard to “practicable and equitable” and then require that the fees must adhere to specific criteria currently applicable only to treatment of sewage waste. Such criteria are not appropriate because the infrastructure necessary to connect users of water and sewer is substantially different from the ongoing costs to treat sewage. Further complicating this issue is the fact that the “fair and reasonable” standard localities must employ, whether individually or as part of regional authority or commission, exists in six separate code sections. This bill only changes the standard in one section of State Code, thereby establishing conflicting standards as to what a locality must adhere to.
The bill passed the Senate 35-5 and cleared the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee on Friday morning by a vote of 17-5. Both the Home Builders Association of Virginia and the Virginia Manufacturers Association say the new standard is necessary because some local governments are establishing “exorbitant” fees. Additionally, the patron of the bill testified in committee that localities were “padding their budgets” with revenue generated by the connection fees.
The measure will be voted on the House floor next week. Contact your Delegate to vote NO on SB 1569.
VACo Members – Share your thoughts on FlagPoll.
- The standard for determining one-time connection fees should not be confused with the ongoing fees for treatment of sewage.
- The bill unnecessarily creates a conflicting standard in state code for localities when determining the fees for connection of water and sewer.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP