HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The High Springs City Commission has approved a transportation, parks and general government impact fee study for High Springs at a cost of $32,250.

Impact fees would be a one-time fee collected on new developments to help pay for the expanded capital facilities that will be required to serve new residents and businesses that will occupy the developments. The transportation aspect of the fee would be determined by the number of trips generated. The parks portion of the fee would be based on residential use. General government impact fees would be assessed for police and fire facilities and public works.

The study is estimated to take six months and the City will hold three public meetings before implementing whatever impact fees the Commission chooses to set.

City Manager Ashley Stathatos said when the City has found a firm to conduct a sewer and water impact fee study, those fees will also be brought to the Commission for approval.

In other business, commissioners heard information about an advanced water metering system project that could help the city accurately account for consumed water and recover water delivery costs. The water metering system is referred to as AMI or Advanced Metering Infrastructure.

AMI is an integrated system of water meters, communication networks and data management systems that enable two-way communication between the property owner and the City. The system doesn’t require meter reading by personnel. Instead, the meter reports water usage directly to the hub, which is the utility billing department.

Benefits of the system include hourly water meter readings, operating cost savings, reduced billing adjustments, water theft protection and better asset management.

Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham said that currently the City is experiencing a 34 percent water loss. About 13 percent of that is un-billed, which comes to approximately $177,000 annually. The other 21 percent is from areas where the City has to flush the lines.

The Commission heard Ordinance 2021-02 on first reading and approved the measure relating to the City’s Land Development Code in a roll call vote. The ordinance addresses the procedure for obtaining development permits. The most significant change relates to certain designations which would be changed from a Level One to a Level Three review.

A Level One Review allows for administrative staff approval. Level Two provides that the permit must be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board. A Level Three Review requires review by the Planning Board and the City Commission and includes review of improvement plans, improvement agreement, final plat, preliminary plan, construction plans, final plan, and special use/special exception.

Another ordinance that received approval establishes a Communications Service Tax on all communications services within the City. Stathatos said this ordinance does not change the current Communications Service Tax, but brings the City’s ordinance into compliance with the new state statute. She indicated the base is 5.10 percent and the aggregate is 5.22 percent.

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