Seaford reducing its impact fees to spur development

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford is reducing some of its impact fees, in an effort to spur development. The lower fees could mean a savings of more than $1,000 to a home builder and tens of thousands of dollars to someone who is expanding a business. The new fees will remain in place for a year. Whether they will stay in place at the end of that year will be determined by economic conditions then. "This is meant as an incentive to spur development and bring additions to our tax base and hopefully new jobs that the community needs, city manager Dolores Slatcher said during last weeks city council meeting. The city council approved the new fees by unanimous vote. The new water capacity charge for commercial construction will be based on the size of the tap into the citys water lines. Charge for a 4-inch tap will be $3,000, for a 6-inch tap $3,500, for an 8-inch tap $4,000 and for a 10-inch tap $6,000. Previously, charges were based on the type of business and the buildings square footage. The water capacity charge for residential construction will remain as it was, at $100 per dwelling unit. The downstream sewer assessment, previously based on the actual costs of the sewer line installation, will be a flat fee of $400 per lift station.

And the electric system cost recovery fee will be cut by half. In addition, the city will charge only for materials it uses in putting in an electric line. It will not charge for labor, as it previously did. Trisha Newcomer, economic development manager for the city, told the city council that the fee reductions were recommended by the Economic Development Committee. Also recommended by the committee was a change to the citys charter for tax relief on farmland that has been annexed into the city and that has been subdivided. Under the current charter, once an annexed farm is subdivided it loses its farmland tax rate, even if it remains undeveloped and is still farmed. Newcomer told the council that the charter change would impact two properties in the city. Loss of annual tax revenue to the city would be $24,667. A public hearing on the charter change proposal will be held during the city council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 8. If the city council approves the change, it will have to be OKd by the state legislature. If passed, the charter change will be retroactive to July 1.

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