Jason Morton staff writer for Tuscaloosa News reports “It’s taken years of discussion, recommendations, and taxpayer-funded studies, but the Tuscaloosa City Council stands poised to enact the first Tuscaloosa impact fees for certain developments.
“According to the proposal unveiled last week, the additional strain on city services would apply to new multi-family, attached complexes — student housing developments, primarily — of 100 bedrooms or more.
“If the Tuscaloosa impact fees are adopted, these “service delivery fees,” would ensure new, large-scale developments pay for the necessary services, maintenance, and upgrades that otherwise would be passed on to existing taxpayers.
“Based on their calculations, a new 100-bedroom student housing complex would garner an additional $246,626. That extra money could result in more water and sewer infrastructure, roads, police and fire protection and overall quality-of-life investments.”
The idea of impact fees is not new. In Brevard County Florida, commissioners are considering new impact fees: Under the proposal that county commissioners will consider:
Not only is there an impact on the schools in the area of the development, but a need for improved infrastructure, and more police and firemen. We know the fee will result in higher rents. To recoup the $246,626, the $2,466 per bedroom cost will mean higher rents. Older units not subject to the fees will be more competitive and maybe even give them room to raise rents.
Then there’s the affordability issue. Rents are already taking a larger and larger share of renter’s income. Higher rents are pricing lower income families out of the market. Soon politicians will demand subsidized housing and that means more taxes.
There’s another issue of regulations affecting housing like zoning, and building codes that add costs to homebuilders.
It seems to us that only faster economic growth and rising wages will offset the rising costs in housing. Lord, help us if the economy turns down, and we experience another recession like the last one.
Tuscaloosa impact fees would apply to new construction, but everyone benefits from more residents. More residents mean more demand for services like grocery stores, more construction jobs, and more demand for furniture and home accessories. Shouldn’t the fees be spread over the whole city instead of one easy target?
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