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Baxter Sets New Sewer Capacity Rate After Discussion On Developers Share

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Baxter Sets New Sewer Capacity Rate After Discussion On Developers Share

Baxter City Council set its sewer capacity fee to $1,000 per unit, but members agree discussion is needed on the future of sewer capacity.

Alderman Willie Allison voted against the plan, arguing developers should pay more. He said many residents are concerned what happens five to ten years from now as more development enters the area.

“They’re worried that we’re going to be short on developing our sewer plant to hold all this stuff. In five or ten years from now when I’m gone and everybody else probably might be gone, that developers won’t wave at us and say bye bye. They’re gone, they got their money. But the taxpayers are going to have to put the bill like myself and everybody on this board and raise our taxes and everything else.

Aldermen said they need to hold work sessions going forward to begin planning future expansions of sewer capacity and how to pay for it. City Engineer Tom Bennett said the city has done good things in preparing its infrastructure.

“The city has been very proactive in requiring developers to fund their share of the infrastructure to get there,” Bennett said. “And that’s where I’ve been very vocal about is something you should be doing. But as far as the direct capacity of the sewer plant, you are doing an expansion or renovation and there needs to be a second phase that’s going to come on top of this in the near future at some point. Okay, that’s not known. That’s clearly not known. And when you have to do that will depend upon how successful you are with your rehabilitation program.”

Baxter has multiple projects underway, designed to improve the workings of the water, sewer and stormwater systems. However, Bennett said large improvements can be difficult to fund right now with so few customers on the city grid.

“The best thing you can do for yourself is understand what’s a round number target that we’re going to be shooting for,” Bennett said. “Then you can start talking about how are we going to pay for that? Is that capacity fees on developers? Is that across the board type things? What’s a reasonable grant ratio that we are going to get for these things?”

Bennett said the city needs to keep looking five to twenty years out to be prepared.

Aldermen discussed how Cookeville charges sewer capacity fees both for individual customers and developers. They also discussed the possible impact of large developments, such as one planned near I-40 at the Speedway Convenience store.


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