Sunday, May 07, 2006

Session 8 - Annexation and Impact Fees

Here's the text of one of the most-awaited bills: annexation and the impact fee act.

The annexation bill provides for one of those highly complicated processes for dealing with a highly complicated subject. It provides for interlocal boundary agreements to rationalize both the financial and services aspect and the process for annexation. While it's still ultimately voluntary, it does provide a framework and some incentives for local governments to come to agreement about long-term boundary issues.

The impact fee bill is a serious disappointment. It does require that fees be based on "the most recent and localized data," that fees be segregated into seperate accounts, that notice of changes to fee schedules be issued 90 days prior to adoption, limits administration fees to actual cost, and requires audits.

It doesn't require credits for taxes paid by new development, require local government to meet the level of service standards that they use to set the fees, or otherwise structure the methodologies used. So the local governments win again, and the development community will be forced to continually litigate (insofar as it can afford to) the legitimacy of the abusive and unfair fees that many local governments have adopted in the absence of controlling legislation on methodology.

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