Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Impact Fees Take Center Stage

Today was dominated by discussions on impact fees. We have several impact fee bills up for consideration during this legislative session, and it appears that the tsunami of impact fee bills is upon us.

First, we spent a good portion of the day negotiating with members of the state capital facilities departments on whether or not state projects should be subject to impact fees. This bill, HB274, sponsored by Rep. Wallis we preclude the imposition of impact fees on state facilities. Obviously this causes a fair amount of concern from those communities that anticipate hosting future state facilities. Fortunately, the discussions on this stuff is going fairly well and a solution should be forthcoming.

On the other hand, Representative Steve Sandstrom passed his HB259 out of a house committee today, which allows the bill to have full consideration of the house. His bill would preclude the imposition of impact fees on schools. The ULCT in coordination with the Home builders and Realtors has opposed the bill, but there appears to be enough skepticism about the methodology behind calculating impact fees that there appears to be a growing sentiment behind limiting impact fees. Obviously we will be working diligently to address these concerns and negate the necessity of this legislation. Talking points to articulate our concerns will be sent out soon.

In other news, we have also received a good-faith commitment from the sponsor of the billboard legislation, HB272, to address our concerns with that bill. We will be trying to work through those issues in the next few days and will report back with our progress, but certainly a positive note to have that commitment and we owe our thanks to Rep. Herrod for his willingness to work with us.

On a final note SB135 Taxation Authority of Special Districts also passed out of committee today and will advance to the Senate floor. We have a commitment from the sponsor to address our concerns relative to limiting the tax authority of some special districts (namely water and sewer districts) and feel comfortable that our concerns will be addressed. The intent of the bill is to limit its applicability to service areas instead of applying it more broadly to service districts. With that change, we limit the impact to a very few entities. If you would like more specifics on this one let me know.

That about does it for today. I hope this finds you well... ENJOY!