To the Editor:
The recent description of impact fees as taxes made me chuckle because for once someone got it right. However, the reason for impact fees is to have the ones making all the profit not transfer the cost of the impact of that development on to existing taxpayers. Eventually all bills are paid by taxpayers and consumers. The question here is who should bear the burden of the initial improvements required by zoning and other regulations for new development. Should it be the current taxpayers or the persons benefiting from the sale of the commercial or residential building.
For example, XYZ Company wants to build a big apartment complex along County Road 466. This new development requires new road improvements, traffic control devices, schools for extra kids, water and sewer services, electric. It will increase traffic which means ultimately more police, teachers, etc. and after built more maintenance on roads and utilities etc.
Developers should be required to provide the appropriate studies for all of the IMPACT the development creates. After the project is done, obviously the property taxes should cover all of the maintenance necessary to keep these improvements running and up to date. So, the new property taxes generated should be adequate to do that.
Problem is developers tend to underestimate the IMPACT they have on the community especially, quality of life, which cannot be valued.
So, bottom line, impact fees are taxes and they should be. They are the taxes used to pay for the up front improvements necessary to accommodate new development in our communities. When Impact Fees are inadequate, and the community must borrow money to make the improvements costs are then spread over all taxpayers and not the developers who benefit immensely from the project.
So, how to set the impact fees is critical to all communities and developers? It should be fair to all but mostly it should cover all costs necessary to implement the new development. The property taxes levied after completion should cover the ongoing maintenance but never the initial cost of improvements required – that should always be on the person/persons benefiting from the project.
My two cents.
Village of El Cortez