When Twin Cities restaurants, retailers, daycare centers and other businesses move into a space, they’re often required to pay a one-time fee to the Met Council to connect to the regional sewer system. Proving that the fee was already paid by a previous user can require going back through decades of building permits and municipal receipts. That’s often a fruitless task.
The little-understood “sewer availability charge” can add thousands of dollars to business start-up and expansion costs — about $10,000 for a 40-seat restaurant. Current owners can get hit with this fee if they “expand” their business like adding a seasonal patio.
The Met Council has recently voted to make it easier to prove prior payment of this fee and increased the amount of patio space that a business can add before an increased sewer fee kicks in.