Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Owners 'protest' Century tap fees

Century Park Apartments deliver $165,180 check but is requesting a $101,430 refund


March 8, 2018


Century Mayor Henry Hawkins told the council Monday night that the town had received a check in the amount of $165,180, referred to as 'payment under protest of water and sewer fees' and a letter from Attorney William Dunaway representing the owners of Century Park Apartments, the Pace's Foundation.

The 50-unit, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom, complex was started in late January 2017 in the wooded area east of Escambia County Courthouse annex in Century and is financed by HOME funds provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and Housing Urban Development (HUD). The income-based rentals offer affordable housing to qualified applicants based on HUD qualifications. The number of family members and amount of income effects the cost of rent.

Built to be hurricane sound and equipped with modern, high-efficiency appliances and offering amenities like a laundry facility, fitness center and a kids' playground, complex manager Beth Mixon said they hope to open by the end of next week.

The dispute arose when the town imposed the fee in 2017 following the approval of a resolution that set new water rates in the town of Century. The Pace's Foundation says it had an agreement with the previous administration that the amount would be closer to $60,000 when representatives first approached the council about building apartments in Century.

Dunaway says in the letter that his client, Century Park Apartments, 'has a legally enforceable agreement that it entered into with the town's previous administration for payment of connection fees in the amount of $63,750', a figure he says is 'consistent with the applicable town ordinances that were in effect at the time the agreement was reached.'

"They can fight it all day, what they are talking about is not an official letter, just a note," said Century Mayor Henry Hawkins. "We have our rates in place and they are going to honor those rates."

Dunaway's letter states 'my client respectfully renews its request that the town refund the balance of $101,430 for the overpayment resulting from the increased fee assessment. My client is hopeful that this issue can be resolved without litigation, but they are prepared to pursue legal action in the event a voluntary refund is not forthcoming.'

"We have a policy in place now," said Hawkins. "Well go up on it whenever we need to. Were committed to not giving our services away."


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