ELKTON — Cecil County Council decided to move forward in a 3 to 1 vote to continue its reduced sewer connection fee initiative for one more year.
George Patchell was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
District 3’s Al Miller was the opposing vote in a resolution that extends the $6,000 reduced from $12,000 connection fee. During its work session, Council member Bill Coutz (D-2) suggested amending the original extension from two years to one in an effort to leave wiggle room for funding next year and to allow the new administration to weigh in. The November General Election will determine who the new county executive will be following the defeat of incumbent Executive Alan McCarthy for the Republican nomination.
Miller, though, believes the initiative — which was meant to stir up residential development — has been working and does not feel it should be reduced by one year.
He noted that since 2017, “this two commitment has proven to give us good results, and with a break the residential connector connections to the tune of about $800,000 a year of income to the county and I don’t see any problem with keeping it a two year program.”
Coutz reminded the council that next year they could come together and extend this reduced fee again. In agreement, Council President Bob Meffley agreed claiming his “crystal ball is a little foggy”, and wants to wait until next year to extend the program again.
“I know that this year is tough,” Miller said. “This year coming up with COVID and the following year is going to be tough. I think we just got to keep helping our residential community grow.”
For one year the connection fee for residential living units has been reduced from $12,000 per equivalent living unit to $6,000 per equivalent living unit within the Cecil County Sanitary District. This reduction applies to subdivisions receiving approval prior to July 31, 2022, and will remain in effect as long as the subdivision maintains its validity.
In other business, the council also held a public hearing on “minor changes”, as described by Public Works Director Scott Flanigan, to the Solid Waste Management Plan to reflect new state rules and the Westcoast Mushrooms composting site.
The Maryland Legislature dropped a mandate that requires owners of buildings with offices of greater than 150,000 square feet to provide recycling to their tenants. This will also be added to the master plan.
The council also approved 12 applicants to the submitted to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation easement sale. These applications are to be kept confidential at this time. The councils, earlier, had a closed session discussing these applications.