Senoia denies request to lower sewer tap fees

Thu, 07/23/2009 - 3:02pm
By: John Munford

A request to reduce sewer tap-in fees for a local ministry focusing on helping teens and young men conquer addiction was denied by the Senoia City Council Monday night.

A Better Way Ministries plans to build seven homes on land off Stallings Road just past the cemetery, and founder John Barrow asked the council for its’ grace. He explained that initially the plan was to build just one house on the property, but ultimately it expanded to seven homes.

Barrow said paying between $4,000-$5,000 per home for a tap-in fee was a significant expense.

City Administrator Richard Ferry said the tap-in fees should not be a place where the city makes concessions.

City Attorney Drew Whalen said the city could make some concessions if the project were tied to economic development. He also noted that the real reason for imposing tap-in fees is not just to recover the cost of running the sewer to the property line, but also to cover the sewer capacity used by the development.

Whalen also noted a state law requires any development within 500 feet of a sanitary sewer line to hook up to the sewer system, and though it needs to be verified, he’s pretty sure Barrow’s property would be affected by that law.

A Better Way Ministries offers a 15-month residential program for men who have drug, alcohol or other addictions and “life controlling issues,” according to its website. The Christian-based program is aimed at equipping participants “to become productive citizens who, when faced with the challenges of the world, will look to the Lord for solutions instead of relying on old patters of destructive behavior.”

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