With the economy still struggling, the importance of creating new jobs is becoming more and more important. Locally, we have heard for years about the impediments of job creation. These obstacles include high electric rates, the challenges at Tallahassee Regional Airport, and the permitting process.
With the flow of money so tight, an extra expense to conform with regulations or the variation in costs between governmental jurisdictions can doom an investment in our community and kill the creation of local jobs.
For years, the difference in electric rates between the city of Tallahassee and Talquin provided a substantive difference in operation costs and one could argue, resulted in the development of the Midway industrial complex.
Another issue that is impacting local development in Leon County is sewer and water charges. Sewer and water service is delivered in three different jurisdictions within Leon County with three different costs structures. As the chart below indicates, the difference in costs between the city of Tallahassee service within the city limits, the city of Tallahassee service outside the city limits, and for service from Talquin is significant
The chart below shows the difference in sanitary sewer and potable water system charges and connection fees for a 300 unit apartment complex.
|COT (Outside City)||$421,800||$1,162,500||$1,584,300|
|COT (Within City)||$346,200||$802,500||$1,148,700|
Based on current charges, a 300 unit apartment complex could cost an additional $600,000 in fees to build in Leon County with Talquin water and sewer service than within the city limits. This cost structure results in an additional $2000 per unit.
Who sets the rates for Talquin? Tallahassee Reports has learned that while the Florida Public Service Commission reviews “rate structure”, as a co-op, Talquin is allowed by law to set their own rates.
Several developers have told Tallahassee Reports that these charges can be a real impediment to moving forward with a project and therefore creating local jobs. Tallahassee Reports is following up on a number of questions: Why are these costs so much different than in the city? Are rates for new construction subsidizing residential service? And, how can it be that local government does not have some jurisdiction over the rates Talquin is charging?