Daphne punts on getting opinion about utility tap fees for city projects


Daphne City Council members punted on a proposal to ask for an Alabama Attorney General’s opinion about whether or not Daphne Utilities could waive tap fees for the city, after there was confusion between the utility and the city over how the process for asking for the opinion would go.

Councilman Robin LeJeune, who serves as council liaison to the utility board, informed the council the utility board had voted 3-2 against waiving tap fees for the city’s new sports complex, but had voted to ask for the Attorney General’s office for an opinion on whether it could waive those fees for the city.

Councilman Ron Scott cautioned the council about moving forward on the opinion.

“The utility also wanted an opinion from their bond trustee, the person who is the trustee over the bonds,” Scott said. “My fear is that what the bond trustee is going to do is hire some outside counsel to give them an opinion and the utility will end up with big legal fees. We’re just trying to do what’s in the best interest of the children of the City of Daphne.”

Scott said he hoped the matter could be resolved quickly and without issue.

“I understand they have legal restraints, and we need to resolve this as quick as we can,” Scott said. “We don’t need to be in an adversarial relationship with basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the city.”

Scott added that Daphne Utilities had indicated it would put a second water meter at the property to help water the east fields.

At the April 1 meeting, LeJeune said his understanding on the opinion being asked for was that the utility and city would work together drafting the letter.

“The utility board was favorable in asking for these opinions due to the fact that these questions come up a lot dealing with the city,” LeJeune said. “We’re not concerned with legal fees and asking for these opinions because we want some definitive answers so that similar future requests will have better clarity.”

In an interview on April 8, LeJeune said he had spoken to Daphne Utilities officials and he believed the utility board would write the request and the city attorney would be able to look it over and offer additional suggestions for changes.