The impact of impact fees

County commissioners to consider new measures again in August

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COEUR d’ALENE — One year later, it’s back before the Kootenai County commissioners.

After allowing time for details to be sorted out, the officials will hold another hearing next month on measures that would create new impact fees to help accommodate new growth.

The officials will hear testimony on a proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment incorporating new capital improvement projects (CIPs), and on the county’s first impact fee ordinance.

“It (the impact fee ordinance) won’t service everything, but it will take some of the pressure off the existing districts,” said Larry Clark, commissioner of Northern Lakes Fire District. “For too long, homes have been built and the existing taxpayer has taken care of existing amenities. This puts some weight on the new taxpayer, which is the way it should be.”

If the two measures pass, impact fees — collected only from builders of new homes — would go toward improvement projects for taxing districts like the Sheriff’s Department, fire departments and highway districts.

Over the last year, an Impact Fee Advisory Committee has revised the proposed improvement projects, after confusion about how much of proposed improvement projects could be paid for by development impact fees.

Clark, a member of the committee, said he expected the retooled CIPs would be well received.

“I think the advisory committee met more often and spent more time than any other advisory committee I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I feel very confident on what they (the impact fees) are, but the commissioners have total control over what they’ll be.”

Bill Johnson, member and past president of the North Idaho Building Contractors Association, said his organization favors the measures.

“Impact fees is something we support, as long as they’re done according to state statutes,” Johnson said. “It’s a fee that’s paid to accommodate new growth, and I agree that puts the burden of the cost of infrastructure on new growth, not on the existing taxpayer.”

The commissioners’ hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12 in room 1 of the Kootenai County Administration Building.

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