Impact fees costing jobs - Coeur d'Alene Press: Editorial

Impact fees costing jobs

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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:00 am

Should growth pay for itself? Darn right.

But the problem with the way impact fees are currently structured in Kootenai County is, you'll get growth to pay for itself by eliminating growth altogether.

Here is just one of numerous examples showing how local impact fees represent a good idea gone very bad.

An established local company wants to construct a building that will cost about $190,000. Here's how impact fees would raise the cost of the project:

EMS: Add $135.

Jail: Add $3,629.

Sheriff's Department: Add $1,881.

Post Falls Highway District: $12,968. No, that isn't a typo.

And no, the project is not moving forward.

When a simple, straightforward attempt to expand a business is thwarted by impact fees that push the plan into the realm of fiscal insanity, something is wrong with the way those impact fees are structured. This example is far from singular, and fortunately, our county commissioners are listening.

They're listening as a number of individuals and businesses are explaining that they want to be good corporate citizens, but they need fair guidelines in which to operate. The county has responded by saying it might be willing to suspend its share of impact fees, which would solve part of the problem, anyway.

But unless other taxing entities agree to suspend impact fees - at least until the region has recovered sufficiently from the Great Recession - an unofficial moratorium on growth will be in effect. This doesn't just affect the expansion or addition of buildings, either. With many of those buildings would come additional jobs, making the economic impact even more meaningful.

We don't believe any taxing entity established impact fees with the idea that all growth is wrong. We encourage the decision makers at these entities to suspend impact fees until they can develop a tax plan that will be equitable for everybody.

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  • milburnschmidt posted at 9:01 am on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1161

    Impact fees are just another attempt by Govt offcials to grab more money for themselves under a new name. This is another example of Govt agencies stifling growth and jobs diverting money from the private sector to their coffers. Nothing but greed and restricting the creation of new jobs and stifling the work for present jobs. Govt never has enough.

  • bob-athol posted at 5:24 pm on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    bob-athol Posts: 185

    I thank the cda press for coming along side in support of this issue. Impact Fees also kill affordable housing and hurts lower income folks.

    I ran the math on a $1mil warehouse as if it would go in on the East Side .... there would be over $500k in impact fees! Obviously no business is going to relocate there. Its hard to fault the taxing district boards when the consultant was telling them ... "here is your numbers, go for it". But these boards need to think these things out.

    Yet if the rumor mill is true, some public tax payer paid officials appear to be encouraging fire districts to call the BOCC supporting retaining the impact fees. One of the commissioners told me they were getting these calls. What happens when government becomes its own lobbyist?? A major screwing to the citizens.

    I hope the BOCC does suspend the program, and that they will refund the monies collected to date for the districts they have oversight on (Parks, jail, sheriff, EMS) and recommend to the other taxing districts that they also refund what they have collected.

    Growth for the last 5 yrs has been right at 1% p/yr avg. The bubble is long over. No panic, there is time to figure this out the right way. But we are going to have to look at these district budgets, I've been gathering 1-2 decades of data from the County Clerk and assessors office .... in spite of this prolonged recession, many taxing districts budgets have been going up by over 10% p/yr for several years. We must reign in spending, some districts have not figured this out, they keep spending because nobody is reigning them in.

    Thank-you cda press.

  • Brent Regan posted at 4:44 pm on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 618

    Impact Fees are an unmitigated failure. Impact fees are one of many examples of anti-growth policies from a Comprehensive Plan drafted in the economic frenzy of 2004-2008. The Comprehensive Plan needs to be revised.

    Find out how you can influence the New Comprehensive Plan. Go to and take the Citizen Survey.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 7:47 am on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 359

    Impact fees have always been a bone of contention with me. I understand that growth doesn't always pay it's way but that depends on what it is exactly that is being built and what exactly is the actual impact.

    This article addresses county impact fees but the logic can be applied across the board.

    Since our real property taxes are a year in arrears, that additional revenue from new construction and development isn't added to the tax base and into the county coffers immediately, so the taxpayers pick up the difference on all are assessments. That's fairly understandable but let's determiner what the REAL IMPACT is.

    I will use a friend of mine's mini-storage for an example. He wants to build a covered storage for parking RV's, etc. and the impact fees were assessed at 12-14K for the project. This is for basically a pole building with no walls and I believe no concrete floor. It is just a covered structure for protecting RV's, boats, etc. from the weather.

    I don't know for sure how many spaces are under it, but what is the true impact of that added construction. It is a storage facility not a WAL-MART or new subdivision!

    It have very little or no impact on roads, police, fire and EMS. This is just an example of the discrepancies in the impact fee schedule. The county needs to drop the impact fees and go back to Square 1 and use some common sense on what is the true impact of every new construction on a case by case basis.

    Tim Herzog
    Write-in Candidate for District1 , County Commissioner
    "It's time for a positive difference"

  • Jill Heine posted at 5:59 am on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    Jill Heine Posts: 408

    you forgot the hidden fee for the schools.

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