Water and sewer pipes are expensive, even if not connected to a home.
Owners of vacant property in neighborhoods with underground utilities are learning that after commissioners approved on Tuesday a “utility availability” fee.
The annual fee works to about $50 a year for property owners that have water and sewer lines fronting their vacant property.
Homeowners pay for the water/sewer lines as part of their monthly utility bills.
Owners of vacant property urged commissioners to vote down the fee because they receive no immediate benefit.
Robert Strader, of Sugarmill Woods, said he owns vacant lots on both sides of his house.
“This is charging people for no service, no impact on the system,” Strader said.
Commissioners, though, said having water and sewer immediately available is a strong selling point for owners of vacant property.
“At some point someone is going to live on that vacant lot,” Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith said.
Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. agreed: “The utility is there for your use whether you use it or not.”