Guam – A private citizen is calling on Guam’s leaders to put a temporary stop to GWA’s system development charges.
Rodney Webb has written a letter to Governor Eddie Calvo, Speaker Judi Won Pat, The Guam Chamber of Commerce the Guam Contractor’s Association and the Guam Association of Realtors.
In his letter Webber calls for a three year moratorium for GWA’s System Develepment charge in order to encourage the construction of affordable homes. Webber cites the significant increase in water rates, inflation that is “well above the national average”, and the slow pace of the military buildup as contributing factors to a difficult environment for businesses on Guam.
He believes that this system development charge, which was implemented in 2010, is just another unnecessary burden for businesses and potential homeowners.
“You know the argument that they present is that this is done all over the United States with water utility companies, but you know GPA does not have a system development charge, GTA did not have a systems development charge when they were a public utility,” said Webb adding, “Let’s say I have two kids and I give them two house blocks.
One develops pre- 2010 and doesn’t have to pay a cent and the other kid builds his house after 2010 and he has to pay $5,600 or more.”
CCU Chairman Simon Sanchez on the other hand says that these system development charges are absolutely necessary. In fact, they have already collected from 1,100 people nearly $3 million dollars that they have specific plans to put towards upgrading the water and waste water system. Sanchez says that the idea is to ensure that those who build new buildings that add demand to the existing system simply pay for the increased burden they are adding.
“The system development charge recognizes that there’s a responsibility of the new customer joining the system to contribute something to the cost of expanding the system to meet their new demand.
It’s like the analogy when we have a fiesta everyone brings something to the table,” said Sanchez adding, “We’re looking at a proposal that maybe we could use a fee structure that says for houses above $170 $180 thousand dollars you’re going to pay the five thousand dollars but if you build a house for less than that or you build a structure for less than that maybe we would convert it to a percentage lets say three percent of the final value of the house whether you sell it or build it yourself,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez also says that he’s currently working on developing this graduated system development charge with Senator Tom Ada in order to make it easier to construct affordable housing.