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Why did Oak Island raise the sewer tax for only vacant lots?

Si Cantwell
StarNews

A row of pear trees along E. Oak Island Dr. on Oak Island Wednesday, March 19, 2008. Oak Island’s sewer proect is going to cut down many of the trees that were planted a decade ago as part of a sidewalk project. Staff Photo By Matt Born/Wilmington Star-News.

Q. Oak Island raised sewer tax more than 400 percent for vacant lots but will not charge developed lots. Something wrong here? Where is the fairness?

A. According to David Ennis, the content editor who oversees our regional coverage:

Town officials say all property owners have been paying the fee, as the StarNews reported in this story, but owners of undeveloped property were paying less than their fair share before the fee changes were instituted. Here’s an except:

While all property owners are billed for the sewer district fee, a credit is issued at the end of the year for property owners with developed lots who are hooked into the system, Mayor Betty Wallace said in an email Monday. That’s because they pay the fee in installments as part of their monthly bills.

What the sewer district fee increase does is increase the debt service paid by undeveloped parcel owners, who were paying less into the system in previous years. Wallace noted the increase helps institute a fairer debt payment plan amongst all residents.

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User-contributed question by:
L Gaydon

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2 Responses to “ Why did Oak Island raise the sewer tax for only vacant lots?”

  1. On November 1, 2012 at 9:44 am Richard Bunce wrote:

    “Fair” share is in the eye of the beholder. I say full share which based on the Utility Finance Testbed we created last summer is $48/mo or $576 per year for new utility service area debt payment. Unfortunately Town staff could not separate old utility system service area property owners from new utility system service area property owners so all property owners in any Town utility service area will pay the full amount.

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_LMS6SWPemuU0dNTkt5ZWN6Tjg/edit

  2. On December 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm G. J. Lippert wrote:

    I would like to know what other beach communities in North Carolina have the District Sewage Fee. Also, as a property owner on Oak Island, it does not seem fair that we pay an assessment for the sewage system installation (which I have no problem with), but also, we are paying an assessment/a form of taxation/annual billing for sewage on an undeveloped lot which does not use the sewage system, If you are not using the sewage system then you should not have to pay for a service that you are not receiving…..it’s like going to a gas station, giving the attendant $50-$60 each month and not receiving any gas. Each property owner has paid an assessment for the installation of the sewage system (no problem with this and definitely a positive action), pay property taxes (a given action), and hook-up fees when the property is developed to include a monthly sewage bill which is a standard practice in all developed communities…..but, it appears to be double taxation/assessment when a property owner has to also pay a District Sewage Fee on an undevloped piece of property for services not received……is that fair?????? Perhaps we need to get the N. C. Attorney General involved or maybe the news media to investigate the fairness of this system. Again, are there other beach communities that have this District Sewage Fee similar to Oak Island????? Or, how about other communities in North Carolina????? Thank-you, GJL