Quincy News

Utility Committee says neighborhood residents must pay $10,000 fee for sewer expansion

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 8, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The Quincy Utilities Committee last month balked at spending $520,000 on two expansions of the city's sewer system.

At this month's meeting, city leaders were slightly more receptive to the idea as long as homeowners helped offset the cost.

The proposals come from residents who have private septic tanks and would like to connect to the city's sewer system.

The first proposal is from 12 property owners who live in the Harrison Plaza neighborhood.

Jeffrey Conte, Quincy's director of utilities and engineering, estimates that expanding the sewer to the properties would cost the city $320,000, which includes removing portions of Harrison Street to install the new sewer line and patching the road after the installation. The roadwork is estimated to cost $60,000.

City officials estimated that it would take the city more than 100 years to recoup the cost of expanding sewer services to these residents, who would see a significant increase in their home's property value by having access to the sewer system. Under current billing rates, the city would see revenue of $2,500 annually from the properties.

At last month's meeting, Conte said that within those 100 years, the city would need to reinstall a new sewer line.

On Thursday, utility committee members said if the city moves forward with the project, each property owner should pay $10,000 to tap into the system. The current connection fee is $500 per homeowner.

More than half of the property owners will likely have to agree to pay the $10,000 fee in order for the committee to refer the project to the Quincy City Council for approval.

Last month, a second request for expansion of the sewer was made by residents in the 700 block of Chestnut Street. On that block, four homes share a 6-inch lateral line, a violation of the state's plumbing code, that is about 100 years old and needs to be replaced, Conte said.

To provide access to the city's sewer line for these four homes would cost taxpayers an estimated $200,000.

After Thursday's meeting, Conte said the utility department continues to meet with those homeowners to discuss options.

The committee also referred to the Quincy City Council a request by residents and business owners who own property near 6500 Broadway to establish a Sewer Extension Reimbursement fund. If approved, the fund would allow property owners to recoup the money they spent installing a sewer line. The property owners had asked that the city assess a fee on anyone who would connect onto that line for the next 20 years at a cost up to $160,000, the total of the original sewer line expense.

Members of the Utilities Committee, which includes Aldermen Tonia McKiernan, D-1, Dave Bauer, D-2, and John Mast, R-5, had previously said that having the sewer line installed was a benefit for the city, further increasing the likelihood that more businesses and homes may be built in that portion of Quincy.