Locust council receives SDF analysis report

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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With Locust’s population having increased in recent years, the city has worked with North Carolina engineering firm The Wooten Company to create a System Development Fee Report that will help guide the city in the years to come.

System development fees (SDF) are one-time payments made by developers to municipalities during construction to connect to water and sewer systems. These fees help cover the costs associated with increasing a system’s capacity to accommodate the projected growth and additional demands on the system.

During its meeting Thursday, City Council heard from a Wooten engineer regarding the findings of the SDF draft analysis report.

Per the 2017 state law establishing SDFs, municipalities like Locust need to update their SDF analysis at least every five years. It was last done in Locust in 2018, when Raftelis Financial Consultants performed a similar study.

According to Wooten’s calculations and based upon existing infrastructure costs, the maximum allowable sewer SDF is $16.09 per gallon. This means owners of a three-story house could pay as much as $5,792.40 under the results of the study. Assuming 5% annual growth, the city could generate around $4.2 million over the next five years.

The city council can still consider setting fees lower than the proposed maximum fees.

Since 2018, Locust has been charging a $2,500 system development fee. City Administrator Cesar Correa said the city wants to “at a minimum keep it at $2,500. I don’t think we need to go below that.”

Again, assuming 5% annual growth, the city could generate around $1.8 million over the next five years with the $2,500 per connection.

The council also scheduled a 45-day waiting period to solicit written comments from the public about the SDF report Wooten created. Residents are asked to submit their comments by 5 p.m. June 1.

Council will adopt system development fees during the June 8 meeting, during which a public hearing for the analysis report will be held.

If approved, the new fees would go into effect July 1.

New female-owned businesses coming to Locust 

Two female-owned businesses will open in the near future in Locust as Riley’s Retreat, a dog boarding service owned by Rebecca Thompson, and S & S Esthetics, owned by sisters Skyler and Summer Efird, received approval for conditional rezoning requests. The Efirds currently operate S & S Esthetics in Albemarle.

“These are much needed, exciting businesses coming to Locust,” said Councilwoman Mandy Watson during closing comments. “I think having two female-owned businesses makes me really excited.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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