County sewer tap-in fees increased

Tap-in fees for the seven county-owned sewage treatment facilities are increasing.

The facilities service unincorporated subdivisions throughout Auglaize County.

Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart said individual treatment plants are designed for a specific maximum flow and single-family homes within the limits of each subdivision’s sewage area, creating a sewer district. As individual subdivisions are developed, some homes are built on multiple lots, not reaching maximum capacity of the treatment plant.

“It opens up space to utilize the facilities versus a septic tank and leach fields and their associated costs,” Reinhart said.

Fees set for these sewer district tap ins 35 years ago have never been changed and needed to be increased to reflect higher construction costs, the county engineer said.

In 1978, the Auglaize County commissioners provided for homes outside the boundaries of a sewer district to annex into the district, extend sewer lines and pay a $2,000 tap-in fee, to be deposited into the maintenance account of that sewer district. The fee has remained the same since.

According to a resolution passed recently by the commissioners, since 1978, the U.S. Construction Cost Index calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor has increased by a factor of 3.4 making the 1978 tap-in fee the equivalent of $6,800 in 2013 dollars.

“A sewer system today costs between $15,000 and $20,000,” Reinhart said. “We needed to bring it up to today’s prices to add into a sewer system if we have analyzed it and do have the capacity.”

Commissioners approved an increased tap-in fee and approved a set of steps to be followed by any developer wanting to annex into an existing treatment plant owned and operated by Auglaize County.

The steps include petitioning commissioners for inclusion in the sewer district, the Auglaize County sanitary engineer determining if capacity exists within the treatment plant, and paying the tap-in fee equivalent to the 1978 $2,000 fee adjusted to the current date based upon the Construction Code Index.

Upon approval by the county’s sanitary engineer, all sewer lines would need to be extended at the cost of the petitioner. At no cost to the county, all easements are to be made in order to maintain the sewer.