Local News

New Fee Under Consideration For Raleigh Home Construction

Posted September 5, 2006 8:33 a.m. EDT

— With new homes come new sewer lines. As more people move to Raleigh, Mayor Charles Meeker said it's time to move ahead with new water and sewer capacity fees.

"Raleigh is very much behind the times. Almost all the other municipalities in Wake County have these capacity fees, and we should have one, too, so development will help more for paying in Raleigh," said Meeker.

Developers pay similar fees on almost every new home that is built in other Wake County towns. They range from about $2,000 all the way up to $6,000.

Durham and Winston-Salem are the only cities in the area besides Raleigh that don't have water and sewer fees. Holly Springs has the highest fees in the Triangle, charging $6,000 per new home. The cheapest city, Knightdale, charges about $1,800 a year. In Fuquay-Varina, the fee applies only to commercial development, not homes.

Now, Raleigh officials said they will consider adding a $1,000 water and sewer fee. That could raise about $5 million a year and pay for expansion at the Neuse River Water Treatment Plant.

Meeker said the fees could help pay for a new water plant. He said he believes the money could also lower the expected increase in customers' water and sewer bills from 9 percent to 7 percent.

Developers, who unsuccessfully fought an increase in impact fees, are now ready to battle capacity fees. Some builders might decide to pass the cost on to buyers.

The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County said it believes everyone should pay for new infrastructure because everyone uses water and sewer.

"What is the cumulative effect when you start adding more fees to the cost of new construction?" said Tim Minton, executive officer for the association. "Our worry is (that) as the city of Raleigh looks at raising other fees as well, it's going to put some people out of business."

The Raleigh City Council might decide in two weeks whether to implement the capacity fees. While the $1,000 figure has been mentioned, the council would have to decide exactly how much the fees would be.