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Waco to consider 'impact fees' to pay for the cost of growth

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 22:33:30-05

On Feb. 5, the Waco City Council will get a presentation, on paying for the city's explosive growth.

Right now, all taxpayers share the cost of getting the property on the edge of town, ready for development.

But new "impact fees" will ensure the people making the impact shoulder their fair share of the cost.

When Erin Prince moved to Waco from Birmingham a couple of years ago, she quickly noticed how fast Waco had started to grow.

"Huge growth, when we moved here two years ago, it was really hard actually to find a house, there was so much growth," she said. 

These days, people call Waco a boomtown, and you'll find a lot of the booming out along the Highway 84 corridor, where Waco Planning Director Clint Peters says, a lot of the city's money goes.

”It's really ramped up, especially over the last five to ten years, and it's just striking that balance,” he said. 

That balance refers to the cost of running new sewer and water lines and roads to new far-flung subdivisions and maintaining the city's existing lines and roads.

So the Waco City Council will consider so-called "impact fees" for new development.   Basically, it helps pay the cost of extending infrastructure to outlying areas.

”The impact fees that we're looking at are roadway, water and sewer, are the three that we're exploring and they are specifically for adding capacity,” said Peters.

Developers will pay them, and likely pass them along to home buyers like Erin Price.

The fees would only apply to new construction in areas without services.

”You know, to be honest, out here, I think it's OK if you're moving into this area, you can probably afford it,” said Prince.

She says, at some point, growth needs to pay for itself, for the city to afford to maintain it's other amenities.

The proposal will undergo several public hearings and if approved, likely won't take effect until October of 2020 at the earliest.

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