Last updated: August 07. 2014 12:04AM - 328 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

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Mount Airy officials have been asked to waive utility tap-on fees for two homes being constructed by Habitat for Humanity, and will consider a measure today to extend that for all others built in the future.

“The cost to the city will be the loss of $1,550 in tapping fees, yet we will see an addition to our tax base and a new water customer,” City Manager Barbara Jones explained Wednesday. That would be the effect on a per-home basis for the standard service connection charges.

The matter is on tap for a 2 p.m. meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners today.

It stems from a request in July by Sheree Russo, finance director for the Greater Mount Airy Area Habitat for Humanity.

Russo asked that the city government forgo water and sewer tap fees for a project now under way by the organization to construct two homes at 230 and 232 Galloway St. Habitat homes have been built in the past in other Mount Airy neighborhoods in addition to areas around the county. The project now under way would bring the total to 43 homes constructed countywide since the local organization was founded in 1993.

The city manager added Wednesday that similar requests have been made for Habitat projects in the past, which municipal officials approved.

But a resolution to be considered by the commissioners at today’s meeting would provide the waiver to any Habitat for Humanity homes constructed in the city limits in the future.

That resolution acknowledges Habitat’s mission of providing affordable housing to low-income families, who receive mortgages at zero percent interest and provide “sweat equity” by participating in the construction. It states that the organization has helped “numerous individuals and families in Mount Airy.”

If approved this afternoon, the resolution would grant the waiver for the two sites on Galloway Street and further allow the city staff — without board approval — to do so for future homes once a request is received from Habitat for Humanity officials.

“It basically formalizes the fact that tap fees will be waived for Habitat for Humanity homes,” Jones added of the measure. “They (Habitat officials) will, however, still have to make the request.”

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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