KILLEEN, TX — Killeen is continuously changing. But who should pay for capital improvements as the community expands? That question weighs on the minds of city council leaders as they consider whether or not to impose an impact fee.
“The impact fees in my opinion have the capability of driving development outside of the city of Killeen,” said Brandi Stokes, Realtor, Cameo Homes.
Impact fees are a bill issued to developers and builders to support capital improvements related to the new construction. Supporters say that developers should pay for the expansions.
“I don’t think taxpayers should have to pay for putting up new streets and new pavements and thinks like that for people who are building things to make money,” said Bettie McIntyre, of Killeen.
City Council member Steve Harris echoed these sentiments.
“I believe that the implementation of impact fees in our city is, both, a good and necessary step. Just as the majority of the council deemed added fees such as, “Street Utility Fees” necessary additions to our residents cost of living to assist in the repair of our current road infrastructure, impact fees are a way to ensure the same type of financial assistance regarding future infrastructure in relation to their locations in conjunction with new development. It helps in taking the sole burden of our road, water/sewage repair and construction solely off the shoulders of the citizens. Tax increases for residents of Killeen IS the only alternative to impact fees, ” said Harris.
Some builders say the issue comes with some misconceptions.
“I think that they think that the impact fees are going to get all this money for the city of Killeen, and it’s going to be used to fix the roads in other parts of the city, and it can’t. It has to be by state law, it has to be in a specific area which it was generated,” said Don Farek, owner of Cameo Homes.
Critics say that the fee could hurt economic growth.
“When you do that you’re not talking about losing the money on impact fees, you’re talking about lost revenue on property taxes, water and sewer fees, you are risking new commercial development coming in,” said Stokes.
She says the fee could be carried on to the consumer’s cost for building in the city.
“When you talk about driving development outside the city of Killeen, we have Harker Heights, we have Belton, Nolanville, Copperas Cove. They don’t have impact fees,” said Stokes.
The City Council will give staff direction on whether or not they should prepare an ordinance establishing a fee on Tuesday. Council members are set to make a decision on Dec. 17.