Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Steamboat Springs The members of the City Council presented the public with a new and improved version of impact fees Tuesday, though they admitted that the fees may still not be the solution to ending subsidies to growth.
Impact fees, which are charged to new development to pay for the city's capital needs, will now be reduced for all homes and commercial developments, with a full waiver for homes deemed affordable. The waiver was made possible by a state Senate bill, which was sent to the governor for his signature Oct. 18. Legislative records do not indicate the bill has been signed by the governor. Previously the council was going to have to rebate impact fees to homeowners who qualified, meaning the money legally would still have to be paid out of the general fund because a fee is meant to be a payment for services and does not vary from person to person.
The new scenario of waiving fees will save the city money up to $100,000 that would have had to come out of reserves, said Finance Director Don Taylor.
The fee on a single-family detached home will drop from $4,454 to $4,000 after the City Council decided to reduce the fee that goes toward open space by 40 percent. Fees charged to office buildings and other structures will likewise be reduced.
In terms of affordable housing, the council decided to waive fees for homes less than 1,500 square feet, provided the fee payer or renter makes less than 120 percent of the area median income, adjusted for the size of the household, and pays less than 30 percent of his or her income toward the mortgage. The fee payer or renter would also have to be employed in Routt County.
The majority of council members sitting on council as of Tuesday agreed that if a reasonable excise tax was passed next year, they would be willing to drop or alter the impact fee.