Some of the councilors expressed that they feel the fee has been passed on from the developer or contractor to the homeowner and that they would like to give the money to the homeowner, but the law requires that if they issue a refund it goes back to the person who originally paid the fee, Treasurer Susan Lewis said.
Brian Peterson of Son Builders said with the state of the housing market, the construction industry is not passing the impact fee cost on to the homeowner.
The council voted unanimously to have the city staff send a letter to the people who paid the impact fee telling them about the refund and asking what name and address it should be sent to.
Though the secondary water impact fee has been repealed, the city still intends to put in a secondary water system as part of the city’s overall water system.
Councilor Rob Dotson said he does not believe it is right to charge a secondary water impact fee because many people are paying it and not getting secondary water. Some of the homes constructed since the fee’s inception have been in subdivisions with secondary water, but there is no way to charge the fee only to people in certain areas of the city.
It was decided that after receiving information from a study the council would look at adjusting the city’s water impact fee, which should include both the culinary and secondary systems.
Secondary water is for irrigation only, and Spencer Jones of Velocity Construction said it should be noted that a home having secondary water lessens the impact on the culinary system.
Dotson said the study should examine a new home’s impact on the city’s water system as a whole, not on the culinary system and the secondary system.
“Let’s have one fee and adjust one fee,” he said. “Let’s not have two.”
Attorney Gary Kuhlmann said all impact fee determinations must be based on studies. The last impact fee study was done by Nolte Associates Inc.
The council discussed whether they should have Nolte do an update to the old study and combine the culinary and secondary water impact fee assessments, or whether they should wait until they receive a study being done by Horrocks that should include an impact fee analysis at no extra charge. That study will not be completed until 2011 because the company is waiting on Census results.
It was decided city staff would double check with Horrocks to make sure the impact fee analysis is part of the study and to let them know that the water systems should be evaluated together.
The average secondary water impact fee was about $2,300 and the average of the two fees combined was $5,700, Councilor Gary Wilcken said.
There was the discussion before the vote about suspending instead of repealing the fee until they receive the study results, but Dotson made a motion to repeal the fee that was seconded and passed.
Suspending the fee would have allowed the council to reinstate it at a later date, but repealing it means if the council were to put the fee into place again they would have to go through the public hearing process.
Councilor Brent Taylor was the sole “nay” vote in repealing the fee. Before the vote he said he felt at some point the city needed a secondary water system, but wasn’t sure the impact fee was the way to do it.
Councilor Celesta Lyman commented on the tough decision, which has been discussed on and off at meetings for several months.
“This has been a hard thing because we want to be smart with our planning, and do what’s ethical,” she said.
Additionally at the meeting, Keith Maxwell, Enoch parks and maintenance, said the bathrooms at Old Enoch Park were closed because of vandalism. The park has been vandalized at least four times a year, and the last time the lights outside were broken out, the toilets had been clogged with paper and feces had been spread around the bathroom. He said this is not only and expense for the city, but it is a health hazard for the public.
The bathrooms were locked and a key could be checked out at the city office with a security deposit, he said.
He said he would like to see some neighborhood involvement. Anyone who has any information about the vandalism should contact the police department at 586-8791.