Friday, April 08, 2005

School Impact Fees

Yesterday's editorial opinion in the Standard-Examiner is about how school districts in Utah should be able to charge school impact fees on new housing developments.

What an idea! One that was thoroughly shot dead by the state legislature a couple of years ago, after the Park City School District had implemented one and was having some moderate success. Though impact fees were allowed (rather tenuously) by the legsilature for local government, there was no way they were going to let that idea get away and apply to lots of other things, which there may be some valid concern about.

But building of new schools, which is so directly tied to new develoment, seems like a logical place to allow the concept. Particularly with the difficulty we have in funding education, and with so much of the local options school funding based on the much-hated property tax.

Kudos, Standard-Examiner. Let's see if this idea gets any traction.


At 10:31 AM, Blogger Planski said...

And on the flip side, shouldn't schools (and charter schools) be responsible to pay their fair share of impact to the City's roads and infrastructure? But, back to those old macroeconomics lessons, tax and fee burden just gets passed up and over and ends up somewhere. If the new development doesn't pay for it, your property taxes or state taxes will, and if you don't have 6 kids to deduct, you get to pay for your neighbor's kids to go to school. Thats a real fair distribution system, isn't it. The Governor shouldn't just be looking to straighten out the corporate tax system here.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Gene Moser said...

For a little background. During my term of office as a county commissioner in Summit Co. (then listed as the second fasted growing rural county in the US - Douglas County, Co. being first) the commission decided that we had to impose impact fees to take of needed capital facilities. The school boards were included in our planning process and after considerable discussion we decided to include schools among our impact fee planning. We thought we had to have legislation passed to authorize school impact fees and after considerably more discussion,our Represenative Glenn Brown agreed to run the bill. In the meantime, we had hired Lawyer/planner Robert Freilich to assist us in the formulation of our new regulations and he advised us that Utah State Law didn't prevent school impact fees. We carefully drafted and adopted regulations,then started charging impact fees. The fees collected were appropriately maintained in a seperate account. Sure enough, a bill was introduced and passed in the legislature which prevented school impact fees. There are strong arguments why new growth should pay its own way and not be subsidized by long term residents. While the bill was being considered, I debated the matter with the sponsor of the bill during a League of Womens Voters session at the Capital and was told, following the debate, that the League members voted to support the school impact fees in their lobbying efforts. Needless to say, they didn't prevail, nor did we.

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