Round Rock City Council approved an increase to water impact fees for new developments and growth on Nov. 2.

The gist

According to city documents, there will be a 16% increase in water needs and 28% increase in wastewater needs over the next 10 years.

The Round Rock Department of Utilities proposed roughly a 30% increase in fees for new homes in the city, as well as increased fees for other types of new developments in the area.

The current water impact fees, typically rolled into the final cost of a new home, is $6,033. The department proposed increasing this number to $7,833. The fee relates to the cost for the city to connect water and wastewater lines in new homes or developments.

The alternative would include drilling a well and installing a septic tank, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars, according to Department of Utilities Director Michael Thane.

Thane noted in a presentation to City Council, the city of Round Rock reevaluates their water impact fees every three years as the city is seeing substantial growth.

City documents state that one of the main aspects of determining impact fees is the amount of development anticipated in future years.

The details

Last updated in 2020, the water and wastewater impact fee is based on water supply, treatment, pumping, storage, transmission and interceptors needed.

Impact fees are used to fund water projects pertaining to construction, surveying and engineering fees, as well as land acquisition costs.

Mayor Craig Morgan raised concerns that as growth continues, less land is available for future development, meaning impact fees should be trending downward.

“Let me be very clear, I support development paying for growth," Morgan said. "Our citizens should not have to pay for all the additional growth, but as our potential land shrinks because of growth, it seems to me the impact would be less.”

Thane explained that the cost of future capital improvement projects largely affects future water and wastewater impact fees, citing a new deep-water intake project to increase capacity as well as an expansion to the wastewater treatment plant, both of which are in progress.

“Our projects today are quite expensive,” Thane said.

According to officials, many projects have increased in cost due to current economic factors.

Looking ahead

The new water and wastewater impact fees will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.