As residents received their Town tax bill last week, the BOS finally discussed implementing Impact Fees
Last weeks' tax bills arrived showing another >10% increase, now for 3 years in a row. How long can this "growth" be maintained? That will be a story for another day.
One beacon of light at the May 26th BOS Meeting was a presentation from Bruce Mayberry (a state expert in Impact Fees). The report can be found here:
Basically, if approved and implemented, all newly constructed single-family homes would pay an approximate $9,000 Impact Fee. There are other lesser fees for different types of construction. This is great news for taxpayers as there maybe some relief to budgets as all these new developments get built. Existing residents shouldn't have to bear the sole burden of new construction.
The BOS is holding a Public Hearing on June 15th at 6:30 via Zoom. Please try to attend and voice your support for the implementation of Impact Fees.
Some history on Impact Fees
As many will recall, Impact Fees were approved by voters in 2005 and never implemented. That is 15 years on uncollected fees. While many reasons were provided, mainly that a fee schedule was never approved, it was very clear that it was not supported by previous Boards of Selectmen and especially long-term Planning Board Members who had vocally expressed disapproval with Impact Fees, even up until 2019 prior to the election approving them again.
One of the most enlightening moments of Bruce Mayberry's presentation was Q&A by the BOS and Planning Board. The previous Planning Board Chairman and previous BOS ex-officio member (both involved in the non-implementation of Impact Fees) asked several questions, the framing of which sounded similar to rhetoric presented previously as to the negatives of Impact Fees despite voter mandate. Mr. Mayberry dispelled every myth and misguided talking point by using experience from surrounding towns and years of success with Impact Fees. He even dispelled some myths on Workforce Housing! One of the concerning lines of questioning referred to granting Impact Fee "waivers" to certain developments and even developers. Mr. Mayberry gave a very detailed explanation about how he didn't recommend waivers because even Workforce Housing in Amherst woulc be upwards of $400,000 for a single-family home. I encourage all to watch his presentation. https://vimeo.com/channels/1555931 starting right around 19 minus 50 seconds.
Basically, our public officials were not honest with us about Impact Fees. However, lets move on and embrace the likelihood that the Town will start charging Impact Fees, which hopefully in the long run will provide some tax relief. This will also provide the current Planning Board with tools to manage growth.