By Adrian Skabelund for Arizona Daily Star
The fees placed on new developments by the City of Flagstaff could increase almost 300 percent this year.
The fees are designed to maintain the level of emergency services in the city as the community grows, and according to Flagstaff’s Planning Director Tiffany Antol, those fees haven’t increased in more than a decade.
Working with the help of a consultant, Flagstaff determined it would need to bring in more than $10M simply to maintain the current level of emergency services over the next 10 years.
About $6.6M of that would be directed to the Flagstaff Fire Department to pay for six additional firefighting vehicles and 8,000 additional square feet of fire station that the city will need over the next decade.
About $3.4M would be directed to the city’s police department to purchase 14 additional vehicles and 6,400SF of facilities. The money would also be necessary to purchase additional communications equipment.
To pay for all that, the fees placed on new construction and development would have to increase substantially. The development fees placed on a new two-bedroom, single-family home could go from a total of $548 to $1,334.
A multifamily development would be charged by the unit. Fees placed on a two-bedroom unit would increase from $512 to $1,340.
Fees would also increase on new commercial spaces, although the cost of those fees is determined by the square footage of the building. New fees would also be placed on assisted living facilities such as nursing homes and on hotels.
The fee increases will be voted on in July and would be implemented by September. But the size of those increases was a concern of some on councilmembers when the issue was discussed on Tuesday.
In a letter to the Flagstaff City Council, President of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Julie Pastrick also opposed what she called a “massive” fee increase.
Pastrick states the increased fees would only increase the cost of housing just as the council is looking to make Flagstaff a more affordable place to live. Additionally, the letter suggests the city should use the additional property tax revenue brought in by new developments rather than increasing fees.
Read more at Arizona Daily Sun.