A Richmond Hill city ordinance discourages development.
The title of the city ordinance that creates this discouragement is "Revenue Ordinance of 2009 to Levy Taxes and Fees and Raise Revenue for the City of Richmond Hill, Georgia."
On the face of it, you might think it's not such a bad thing to raise revenue for the city. The details reveal the punitive nature of this ordinance. Businesses are the life-blood of our economy, locally and on a broader scale. Let's see what this ordinance will do.
The section pertaining to water and sewer is totally outrageous. One could even say it's insane. Consider this example. In the old Kroger building is a small business called Jazzercise. The water and sewer connection fee, plus the tap fees for sewer and water, came to $4,609. Remember, this is where the old Dollar Store was. If the owner wanted to move her business to a new location, she would have to pay a new fee (recalculated based on the new location) because this fee is site specific.
How about this? A restaurant wanting to open is charged based on the number of proposed seats. If there are to be 50 seats the fees come to over $21,000. That's not the water and sewer bill. This is an additional, up-front fee. Any business wanting to relocate is charged again (site specific, remember). There's a gym located here in town that would like to move to another building a few yards away. The fee for the new location, according to city estimates, will be over $53,000.
This fee structure is calculated by putting each business into a category. Let's follow the calculation for a restaurant operating less than 24 hours a day. The city presumes 25 gallons of water per seat. In order to use this formula, you must know that the city has an Estimated Residential Usage of 300 gallons, as a standard. The "ERU" is an essential element in the formula. So, let's try an example.
25 gal. per seat for 50 seats = 1250 gals
1250 gals, divided by 300 = 4.16 (which is the ERU)
The city has assigned dollar values to calculate these fees. The dollar value per ERU for water is $972; for sewer it's $3700; for the sewer tap fee it is $450. Therefore, for our proposed, fifty seat restaurant,
4.16 ERU's times $972 (water) = $ 4043.52
4.16 ERU's times $3700 (sewer) = $15416.66
4.16 ERU's times $450 (tap fee) - $ 1872.00
The total of these fees = $21332.18
Friends, this does not include the "water tap fee" which is based on the size of the water meter.
And don't think for a minute that these fees apply only to the little businesses that might like to establish themselves in Richmond Hill. I f your church might want to build a new facility some day, plan to pony up some extra cash. A church that includes no daycare or Kindergarten is levied on the basis of 3 gallons per seat.
3 gals times 800 seats (medium size church) = 2400 gals.
2400 gals divided by 300 - 8 ERU's
8 times $972 (water) = $ 7776
8 times $3700 (sewer) = $28600
8 times $450 (tap fee) = $ 3600
For a nice total of $39976
If you want a Kindergarten or a daycare, multiply that over three times because they then calculate ten gallons per seat and we're talking about over $136000.
Have a look for yourself. Do your own calculation. Go to my website, darrvl~etermann.com and you'll see a link to the city's website where you can read the entire ordinance and work the formulas for yourself. The information about water and sewer is on pages twenty four to twenty six.
While you're thinking about this, here's another disturbing issue. Three years and nine months ago the voters passed a Special Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for the purpose of building a municipal conference center and aquatic center. Richmond Hill now has a conference center. It was purchased with six million dollars - yes, six zeros - borrowed through the Convention and Visitor's Bureau. What happened to the money raised through the SPLOST over the past three years and nine months? These funds should amount to millions and they were not used for the intended purpose.
These are some things to consider as you decide whether you want more of the same people running your city. A vote for Darryl Petermann is a vote for new leadership and new ideas. It's a vote for someone with extensive business experience.