PTC to hike impact fees

Fri, 05/15/2009 - 3:34pm
By: John Munford

Impact fees, paid indirectly by residents when purchasing a brand new home, may be going up in a dramatic fashion later this year.

The city is also considering applying impact fees to new commercial and industrial buildings also. The current impact fees are only assessed on residential property.

Still, new home owners could be paying up to $3,466 indirectly upon the purchase of their home, up from the current range of $1,083 to $1,707 for most areas in the city. The fees are paid indirectly upon a home purchase because they are paid up front to the city by developers who build the fees into their pricing structure for homes.

Developer Scott Bradshaw, speaking on behalf of the Midwest Georgia Home Builders Association, told the City Council last week that there was no opposition to the increase in the fees. But he argued against a consultant’s proposal to make all impact fees assessed on a city-wide basis.

Bradshaw also said he was glad the city would be assessing impact fees on non-residential development, and he urged Council to consider lowering the residential fees to recognize that the impact fee burden has squarely been on that sector since the program began in 1994.

Currently the first $1,083 of impact fees assessed by the city are used to fund city-wide projects, and the remainder goes toward specific projects for that district. Under the new proposal, the city would be able to use all impact fees for projects in the city regardless of their geographic locations.

City officials contend this will allow the city to be more flexible in funding impact fee projects.

Consultant Ross and Associates projects the city could get $6.8 million in impact fees to pay for a projected $11 million in capital improvements for the city’s fire, police, library and parks and recreation departments. Without the impact fees, almost $10 million of that cost would be borne by current property owners, with $1.1 million coming from new properties, the report states.

After much discussion at its meeting last week, the City Council voted 3-2 to authorize submission of documents that will lead to the new changes. Council will vote at a later date to officially raise the impact fees and change how the fees are structured.

Voting against the changes were Councilmembers Cyndi Plunkett and Doug Sturbaum. Councilmembers Don Haddix, Steve Boone and Mayor Harold Logsdon voted in favor.

One-time impact fees are allowed by Georgia law to fund capital expenses or equipment purchases, but they are limited to funding only the portion of those expenses created by the new development. The fees are assessed on the developer of the property, who then theoretically passes that cost on to the eventual purchaser of the property.

Under the proposal, impact fees would still be collected for the following service categories: library, parks and recreation, fire protection and police. However, industries and businesses would not be assessed impact fees under library and parks and recreation categories since it is assumed they do not have an impact on those services.

Impact fees would be calculated differently for each business based on the type of land use, the report said.

For example:

• Industrial uses would pay between 7.7 cents and 97.2 cents per square foot;

• Lodging uses would pay as low as $42.13 per room for a “business hotel” up to $299.52 per room for a regular motel;

• Recreational uses would pay between 15.4 cents per square foot for a racquet club up to $3,830 an acre for an amusement park;

• Institutional uses would pay between 21.7 cents per square foot for a church or synagogue up to $3.40 per square foot for a private school and $421.17 for a lodge/fraternal organization.

• Retail uses, charged mostly by the square foot, would range from 17.5 cents per square foot for a furniture store all the way up to $3.14 per square foot for a quality restaurant or a sit-down restaurant and $4.59 per square foot for a fast-food restaurant.

• Office uses would pay between $1.23 and $1.70 per square feet.

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Submitted by YourGoodPalMike on Fri, 05/15/2009 - 5:43pm.

In California they call these fees Mello-Roos, and the buyer pays them over the course of thirty years or so.

It's property tax. But they call it other stuff like "impact fees" or "mello-roos."

It's like when they call the war in Iraq and Afghanistan a "war on terror" when they should really just say, "we're in a war to secure oil and other valuable resources."

Marketing 101

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