ST. GEORGE – With construction in Southern Utah continuing to rebound since the recession and a steady amount of growth projected for the area, the St. George City Council discussed proposed adjustments to the city’s impact fee schedule Wednesday, which will reduce it by an estimated 3 percent for new homes.
Jason Burningham, of Lewis Young Robertson & Burningham, a financial planning firm, presented the proposed fee changes to the City Council. The process of drafting the proposed impact fees has been in the works for a while and has been available for public review. Some suggestions made by the Southern Utah Home Builders Association were also incorporated into the proposal, which SUHBA representatives present at the meeting said pleased them.
Currently, city impact fees are $11,008 but will drop $348 to $10,660 for a typical home pending City Council approval. The change will go into effect 90 days after the city officially adopts the new fee rate.
The impact fees are one-time charges to new construction that are applied for the expansion of city services to accommodate continued growth. They cover such services as culinary water systems, power, sewer, storm drainage, transportation, public safety, and parks and recreation.
Two major revisions to the impact fees involved city water and power costs. Revisions to culinary water include the city paying into two water projects, namely the Little Valley water line and a regional pipeline; however, overall costs related to the water component of the impact fee drops about 15 percent.
Power is a mixed bag. There is a reduced meter fee, but due to growing power costs in general, this component of the impact fee has risen by 31 percent, Burningham said.
The last time changes were made to city impact fees was in 2006, when the city and county were experiencing major growth, Burningham said. The current growth rate is projected at 2.5 to 3 percent. It was a conservative estimate, he said, yet provides for more a stable and manageable growth rate.
The city’s impact fees are in the low-to-medium range when compared the other cities with comparable services, Burningham said.
The council gave verbal approval for the proposed revisions. The next step in the process of finalizing the new fee rate will be a public hearing to be held during a future City Council meeting. If no major issues arise from the public hearing, the proposed changes go to the City Council for a vote.
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