by Lisa Tome
Countywide, construction of new single family homes in Cecil County is on the decline.
The cost for permits for new home construction is approximately $35,000. Those fees don't include the land or building materials. It costs 30 cents per square foot for a new home permit fee. Connection fees to county water and sewer cost $10,000. The Best Available Technology septic costs $10,000. Throw in another $5,000 for a well.
Tack on an additional $8,000 for engineering for public works, grading, and as builts. Sprinklers cost $3,500-$4,000, depending on the contractor. There are $20 fees for the health department and planning and zoning. For a plumbing permit, it costs $50 for the first fixture and $5 for each additional fixture. HVAC fee is $75. The fee for an electrical contractor inspection fee ranges from $100-$150. There is also a $30 electrical permit fee.
"It costs about $35,000 just to put a shovel in the ground," said Conway.
Permits for single family homes dropped significantly, to 132 issued. In fiscal year 2013, 188 permits were issued for single family homes. This was the lowest number in years. In FY 2012, 160 permits for single family homes were issued. In FY 2011, there were 198. In FY 2010, 220 were issued. In FY 2009, 191 were issued. A decade or more ago, there were 600 or more single family home permits issued annually.
For the time span between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, 98 permits for single family homes were issued. "That's the fewest I can remember," said Patrick Conway, the county's Director of Permits and Inspections, who has worked in the department for nearly 30 years.
"That's the key, it's the lowest number in 26 years. But in comparison, home improvements are skyrocketing. People are staying where they are and fixing up," said Conway.
Building in an incorporated town also comes with its own connection fees.
In Cecilton, for connections to the town's infrastructure, water costs $6,444.09 and sewer connection is $10,310.42 for a total of $16,754.41.
Chesapeake City costs slightly less, $9,000 for sewer and $16,000 for water, $15,000 total.
The Town of Elkton also charges $15,000 - $5,000 for water and $10,000 for sewer connections. If infrastructure is already in place, a front foot assessment is performed. The cost is $100 per foot. "The front foot assessment is generally $100 per foot. But there are some exceptions," explained Michelle Henson, Administration Office Secretary for the Town of Elkton.
The Town of North East has a $2,500 water connection fee and a major facilities fee of $3,500. That includes engineering and inspection costs. Sewer connection through the county is about $12,000.
Rising Sun has been under building moratorium for a decade, since 2006. The new sewer plant is up and running and plans are underway to connect to Chester Water Authority for a water source.
Despite the moratorium, town officials have approved a fee schedule.
To connect to water and sewer in Rising Sun will cost $19,600. That includes $200 each for water and sewer hook up fees, $8,000 each for water and sewer capital improvement fees, $1,000 sewer capital improvement fee, $200 streets and sidewalks impact fee, $200 I & I reduction fee, $1,000 traffic safety impact fee, and $1,000 police and fire impact fee.
In Port Deposit, the connection fee for water with Artesian is $8,600. For sewer it's $12,000.
In Perryville, the water connection fee and sewer connection fee are $5,000 each. There is also a $1,000 sewer facilities fee. This town has the lowest connection fee cost.
In Charlestown, the water connection fee and sewer connection fees are $7,000 each.
County connection fees, water is provided by Artesian. For sewer the major facilities fee is $12,000 per single family home. There is also five sanitary sewer sub districts. This fee varies according to the district.