The City of Howell is looking to update the method used to determine the cost of tapping into the municipality’s water and sewer system.

The current method uses REUs, or Residential Equivalency Units, to ascertain the expected use compared to a typical household. City Manager Shea Charles says this structure came about as early as the 1970s. Charles tells WHMI the city is interested in adopting a new method in order to assure proper funding for the systems.

Charles says as technology has evolved, it’s become apparent that the guesswork isn’t the best approach. The City is instead looking to adopt a fee schedule that’s based on the size of the physical connection to the system and uses straight pipe sizes. Charles says knowing the impact that a certain tap will have on the system eliminates the debate of how many REUs to assign a use.

The city is contracting Utility Financial Solutions at a cost of $7,000 to develop the new fee structure. On Monday, City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the study and implementation. The city will be caught in an interim period during which the study is being conducted and the start of construction season.

Charles says the city anticipates issuing building permits within that time frame, so individuals pulling the permits will be given the option to either pay the tap fees based on the current structure, or wait until the new structure has been implemented. If they choose to wait and the new structure indicates higher fees, property owners have the right to revert to the old system and pay the lower charges. That option only applies to permits issued from this point forward and will terminate once the new fee schedule is adopted. (DK)