Builders will face higher tariffs for the fees they pay to expand JEA’s water and sewer treatment capacity to serve the new developments, but the utility’s board also decided on Friday. to consider ways to “grandfather” the current tariffs for a while.
JEA had not raised these rates for 15 years and has been in talks for several months with the Northeast Florida Builders Association about the impact on the cost of building new homes at affordable prices for buyers.
The increase in assessed charges for new construction does not affect what JEA customers pay on their monthly water and sewer bills. These rates remain the same.
The higher rates on new construction will begin phasing in on October 1, but residential and commercial builders told the board that some projects were already underway and that they used financial assumptions based on them. current JEA fees.
Following:Homebuilders say JEA’s increase in sewer and water charges will have a ‘damaging effect’ on prices
Revision month:JEA plans to increase water and sewer fees paid by builders
These projects could be affected by considerably higher costs when they are ready to make utility connections and the JEA assesses the costs.
The board decided to continue studying how to deal with such cases.
“I think it is important that we continue to do this and that we are fair to the people who made plans, obtained funding, obtained permits, etc.,” said the chairman of the board of directors of the JEA, John Baker.
JEA board member Jay Stein raised the possibility that builders could prepay fees at the current rate if they make payments before year-end and agree to make them non-refundable if they don’t end up completing projects.
“It gives them the option to take the risk or not,” said Stein.
The incremental increases would begin October 1 and eventually increase the total rate of the water and sewer capacity charge in stages every six months from $ 1,954 now to $ 7,103 by April 2023 for typical residential service. to a new house.
The builders have requested that the fees be phased over three years.
“We are making up 15 years without this fee increase and we understand it has to happen,” said Nate Day, president of government affairs for the Northeast Florida Builders Association. “We ask you not to try to make it happen so quickly”,
Board members said they would consider the financial ramifications of a longer implementation period. Baker said that even under the schedule of fee increases over an 18-month period, the JEA would reconsider the rationale for each increase along the way and vote to delay it.
Commercial builders have told the JEA board of directors that increasing fees for their projects will make it even more difficult to build shopping centers and even cause them to “unplug” some transactions.
âYou would kick us out of your service area,â said Michael Herzberg of Sleiman Enterprises.
Baker said the JEA would review planned rate increases every six months and decide at every stage.
JEA CEO Jay Stowe said billing the cost of adding new capacity to development that attracts more customers is the standard way the utility industry handles this expense.
âI understand that any increase has an impact on who has to pay it,â Stowe said after the meeting. âWe think we’ve been thinking and pondering the numbers. Part of our job is to encourage economic development and we will continue to do so.