New Sewer Programs
Pierce County Planning & Public Works Sewer Division is implementing new programs to encourage investment in Pierce County and to assist commercial and residential customers connecting to the sewer system.
Up-front connection charges, rising construction costs, accumulating development fees and lengthy approval processes can be a burden for businesses, developers, and property owners when locating or expanding in Pierce County. The County Executive has adopted several initiatives that aim to encourage and retain economic development by lowering the cost of doing business. In support of the Executive’s objectives and goals, the County Council has approved the following sewer programs.
I. County Participation in Latecomers Agreements
Under this policy the Department would finance a share of sewer facility projects and seek reimbursement of the cost by establishing a latecomers agreement that entitles the County to a proportional share of the reimbursement from the latecomers charges paid by the Tributary Properties. The proportional share (connection charge credits) would be based on the respective contribution of the applicant and the County to the Total Reimbursable Construction Costs (TRCC) on the original development. Latecomers agreements shall have a 20-year term and the developer/County reimbursement shall be set forth and authorized by contract.
II. Connection Charge Amortization for all Commercial Customers
Currently, the Department may enter into contracts with entities for the establishment, maintenance and/or operation of any sewer facilities. The Sewer Division is now expanding this option to contract with property owners of any job-producing developments for the amortization of connection charges. Amortization agreements shall have a 15-year maximum term and an interest rate equivalent to the True Interest Cost of current Pierce County sewer bonds (currently about 3.58%).
III. Dry Sewer Line Amortization and Sewer Loan Program
Under this policy, the Department will reduce up-front sewer connection charges for owners of dry sewer line properties required to connect when sewer service becomes available. The proposal includes two new program options: (1) amortization of connection charges, and (2) a loan program to assist with side sewer improvement costs. Amortization agreements shall have a 15-year maximum term and an interest rate equivalent to the True Interest Cost of current Pierce County sewer bonds (currently about 3.58%). The Sewer Loan Program shall provide loans of up to 90 percent of the costs of the sewer lateral construction not to exceed a maximum loan amount of $10,000. The loans shall have a maximum loan term of 10-years and an interest rate equivalent to the True Interest Cost of current Pierce County sewer bonds as well.
IV. Alternative Commercial Connection Charge Program
Pierce County collects sewer connection charges to help offset the impacts of new development on public sewer system infrastructure. Connection charges are generally a ‘one-time up-front’ cost that are in addition to the on-going monthly or bimonthly sewer service charge. Under the current system, connection charges are due at the time a property initially connects to the County’s sewer system. The Sewer Division is proposing this optional ‘Alternative Commercial Connection Charge Program’ in which the owner or tenant of a commercial property may choose to pay a monthly rental charge (usage fee), rather than paying the full connection charges in advance.