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Back Local News Bill proposes exemptions from SDC

Bill proposes exemptions from SDC

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SEN. Tina Muña-Barnes introduced a bill this week, proposing to exempt any affordable home developer or builder connecting property into the Guam water or wastewater system from paying the system development charge, or SDC.

Muña-Barnes’ Bill 93 also contains provisions exempting any consumer whose total household income does not exceed up to 150 percent of the median income for Guam and those whose properties meet the affordable housing criteria.

The Guam Waterworks Authority implemented the SDC in 2010 to recover the costs associated with expanding, repairing and upgrading the current system in order to handle an influx of new users.

For a 5/8-inch water meter – the typical size for a residential waterline – the development charges start at $3,280. A 5/8-inch wastewater line would cost approximately $4,780 to connect. Water and wastewater lines typically used by condominiums and other large commercial buildings could cost upward of $700,000 to connect.

The senator introduced a similar bill during the last legislative cycle. However, the 31st Legislature adjourned without hearing the bill.

Concerned citizen

Also this week, Rodney Webb, owner of Small Business Know-How, sent a letter to Speaker Judith T. Won Pat requesting for the implementation of a three-year moratorium on the SDC to encourage the construction of affordable homes on Guam.

The letter was also sent to Gov. Eddie Calvo and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, all the senators, the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Contractors Association, and the Guam Association of Realtors.

Webb said the government of Guam should be doing all it can at this time to create a more business-friendly environment on-island and to move the economy forward.

He said the SDC “places a significantly higher burden” on private sector companies building planned residential homes.

“The number of residential building permits issued over the past two years has dropped significantly compared with prior years; utility costs have increased; and the overall business environment in Guam has become very difficult,” Webb said, adding: “I believe there is widespread support in the community for this proposal, but especially among members of the construction industry. This is a sincere and earnest call to Guam’s leaders for help.”

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