Owner asking for lower sewer and water tap fees
By Elizabeth Wilkerson - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK-- The Town Council's water and sewer committee will reconvene next week to further discuss a hotel owner's request for lower water and sewer tap fees.
At Thursday's meeting, Allon Lefever, owner of the Hampton Inn & Suites at 1150 Motel Drive, said the hotel, which is still under construction, was ready to ask to tie into the town's water and sewer system.
Before building the hotel, Lefever had an independent firm complete a feasibility study of the Woodstock market, he said. The study evaluated both an 86-unit hotel and a 102-unit hotel, and the owners decided to build a hotel with 92 rooms to allow for growth, he said.
Together, the water and sewer hookup fees for the hotel are "north of $200,000," he said.
According to information provided by the town, water and sewer access fees for hotels are based on meter size, the number of units and the actual cost of installation. Based on the fee schedule, the hotel would be charged $750 for water access and $1,500 for sewer access for each of its 92 rooms.
Lefever said his request, as outlined in a recent letter to the town, was that the fees be based on the hotel's projected third year stabilized occupancy of 73 percent, which equates to 68 rooms, rather than the total number of rooms.
The market was expected to grow about 3 percent annually, Lefever said, but, since the study was completed, it has actually shrunk 6 to 8 percent. He said he wasn't challenging or asking for a reduction in the town's monthly rates, but he wanted officials to reconsider the hookup fees.
Councilman Ed Munden asked whether the panel needed to make a decision by a certain date. Town Manager Larry Bradford said Lefever needed a decision before the hotel ties into the town's utility system.
Lefever said the hotel has a water line in place now and would like to hook up in a couple weeks. The hotel's target opening date is Oct. 7, he said.
Councilman Arthur White, who leads the committee, said the group would get back to Lefever as soon as possible. Later in the meeting, White said he thought the panel needed to have another meeting to discuss the hotel's request.
"I think we need to address this issue a little more," he said. "We've got quite a bit of information here."
The panel will meet Wednesday at 8 a.m. to discuss the matter.