Time is of the essence!
For reference, HB1525 passed out of the Senate 16-13 on February 28, 2011. Is is now in the House and is currently under review. HB1525 is good in many respects, as you will see in my letter to Representative Eddie Farnsworth below.
Currently, there is a large “impact” fee that is assessed by Gilbert for every new home built. In Gilbert, it is referred to as a System Development Fee (SDF). A similar fee is charged by other Arizona communities. In Gilbert, it costs the home builder about $20,000 per home in SDF’s. This fee is passed on to the home buyer as part of the total cost of the home, in addition to taxes. The idea is that, as new homes are added to the community, this “growth” creates the need for NEW infrastructure, such as streets, water facilities, wastewater facilities, fire and police facilities, parks, etc. Thus the term "growth pays for growth." HB1525 clearly defines those items that are necessary.
The current Arizona Revised Statute 9-463.05 has loopholes big enough to throw lakes, museums, and amusement parks through it. Thus, HB1525 also very clearly defines facilities and infrastructure that are NOT to be included in impact fees, such as aquariums, aquatic centers, bandstand and orchestra facilities, equestrian facilities and golf courses, etc.
The problem is that this bill has onerous provisions that will add more layers of bureacracy, and rules and regulations that will virtually hamstring towns and cities as they attempt to conform to the law. The taxpayer is left paying for all of it.
This is the email that I am sending to Rep. Farnsworth and Rep. Urie. Please call and/or send an email to your Representatives as well. (See list below.)
Dear Representative Farnsworth,
I’m a Gilbert resident and have been very active in politics here for the last 3 years or so. Last Spring, a group of us got together and successfully fought down Prop 406, a sales tax increase. I’m also a precinct committeeman and have operated a conservative website, Gilbert Watch, since February 2010.
So, I appreciate and support your conservative efforts.
HB 1525 is of great concern. I’ve read it, in addition to SB 1525, including the recent corrections after it passed out of Rep. Burges’s committee. I also read Arizona Revised Statute 9-463.05 that HB 1525 hopes to replace. I’m glad for the reform and for many positive aspects of this bill. This reform is badly needed.
The positives include a clear definition of infrastructure items that are necessary to ensure that “growth pays for growth.” Also, HB 1525 strives for transparency, and it holds towns and cities accountable for proving that impact fees are assessed only for legitimate and necessary items. (I did notice, however, that there seems to be some items missing from infrastructure that is designated as allowed and necessary. What about Courts? Traffic signals? Water Recharge?)
After the positives, the bill gets complicated and tortuous. Looking at it broadly, why not stop with those good items and see how it goes? Add more later if it’s needed. The way the bill is structured now, why assume that a 30-acre limit for a park is good for every community? In Gilbert, we have small open spaces everywhere, because of our plethora of HOA’s. Some parks dual as water retention basins to prevent flooding. Fewer, larger parks might be better here. (Maybe not with a $50 million price tag.) The point is, every community is different.
Regarding the refund issue, if certain “service area” infrastructure projects must occur within a time-frame or a refund is granted to the homeowner, won’t this force developers to rush projects through to completion in a mad “spend or lose” attitude?
Also, Gilbert will reach build-out, and we will all enjoy the infrastructure we’ve all paid for. Yet, some homeowners will get a refund because “their” service area didn’t develop according to schedule? Yet, this homeowner, along with others who have paid their fair share, get to enjoy all of Gilbert?
Why is there a need for an advisory committee? Honestly, in light of everything else in the bill that seals up the loopholes, is this committee necessary?
This bill will result in so much more bureaucratic retooling and restructuring as to be counter productive. It flies in the face of applying the simplest, most elegant solution to a complex problem. Ultimately, all of the requirements of this bill, in addition to the impact fees, will fall on the shoulders of the taxpayer.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Legislative District 22:
Representative Steve Urie
Representative Eddie Farnsworth
Legislative District 21:
Representative J.D. Mesnard
Representative Tom Forese