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water and sewer lines at construction site

Public input sought regarding Water and Sewer System Development Fees

The City of Hickory recently commissioned Willdan Financial Services to analyze its Water and Sewer System Development Fees (SDFs) to ensure compliance with North Carolina Session Law 2017-138 (SL 2017-138).

Legislation was passed in 2017 to address fee inconsistencies among public providers, including calculation methodologies and implementation. The law provides specific guidelines that public water and sewer providers must follow to charge SDFs. 

System Development Fees are designed to recover all or a portion of the capital investment made by the City to provide sufficient capacity in its system to serve new users. It should be emphasized that SDFs are charged to only new customers and consequently save existing users substantial capital costs over time.

Willdan Financial Services’ analysis focused on reviewing the latest available fixed asset information and debt service costs to determine the cost of capacity for the City, and on developing other assumptions necessary to establish appropriate fee levels for different types of customers using the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Combined Cost Method.  

A copy of the SDF analysis with the City’s recommendations is available to review at This study documents the results of the various analyses and provides recommendations for implementing SDFs to be charged to new customers connecting to the water and sewer systems.

Per SL 2017-138 guidelines, the City of Hickory is required to offer a 45-day public comment period on the SBF analysis and its recommendations.

To submit a public comment in response to the SDF analysis, please follow the link on the City of Hickory’s Public Utilities web page.