Proposed Miami-Dade County Ordinance Increases Sanitary Sewer Charge in Brickell Area to Help Pay for New Sewer Facilities

Bilzin Sumberg Client Alert

Client Alert
April 4, 2012

On March 20, 2012, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted, on first reading, a proposed ordinance approving the imposition of additional sanitary sewer construction connection charges in the Brickell Area (“Proposed Ordinance”). The Proposed Ordinance has been tentatively scheduled for a public hearing before the County Infrastructure and Land Use Committee on April 11, 2012. If passed by the Committee, the Proposed Ordinance will go before the County Commission on second reading, and if adopted by the Commission, will become effective ten days later unless vetoed by the Mayor.

Properties Impacted
The Proposed Ordinance, if passed, will impact properties in the “Brickell Basin II Area,” which is the area bounded by the Miami River to the north, I-95 to the west, SW 21st Street to the south, and Biscayne Bay to the east.

Construction of New Sanitary Sewer Facilities
The Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department (“WASD”) has determined that existing sanitary sewer facilities are insufficient to accommodate future growth in the Brickell area. WASD plans to design and construct new sanitary sewer facilities to serve the area and to accommodate future development. The new facilities are estimated to cost $28,085,008.

Construction Charge for New or Increased Sanitary Sewer Service
The Proposed Ordinance authorizes WASD to recoup 48% of the total construction cost by imposing an additional charge of $3.90 per average daily gallon on property owners and developers who require either new or increased sewer service in the Brickell area. This charge is in addition to the $1.39 per gallon per day currently charged for new development for water service and the $5.60 per gallon per day currently charged for sewer service. The amount of the charge varies by building size and use. As an example, based on office usage, the proposed new charge equals $195.00 per 1,000 square feet of floor area, while the proposed charge for a 1,000 square foot full service restaurant equals $3,900.00. The charge will not be imposed on properties and buildings currently receiving sewer service unless additional sewer capacity is required after the effective date of the Proposed Ordinance. For example, if existing retail space replaced with a more intense use, such as a full service restaurant use which is assessed at ten times the amount as retail, WASD would assess for the difference between the restaurant and retail charges.

Enforcement
The Proposed Ordinance conditions the provision of sewer service on the payment of the charge. In addition, any charges remaining unpaid sixty days after the due date shall become a lien against the real property connecting to the sanitary sewer system.

While the Proposed Ordinance assesses a surcharge, without the new sanitary sewer facilities, certain new development in the Brickell area could be limited due to a lack of available sewer service.

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