Waco: Impact fees in the works

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 9:58 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - City of Waco officials said Tuesday they’re 'behind the curve’ on implementing impact fees which force developers to pay for infrastructure improvements instead of the city and taxpayers.

“We are not on the cutting edge of cities implementing impact fees, in fact, we’re behind on that,” said Mayor Kyle Deaver. “I think it’s important that this council, the council that’s been studying this, overseeing this study for the past two years, adopt these impact fees before there’s a transition.”

The Mayor says, if the city doesn’t pass the ordinance, citizens who don’t benefit from a development being built will end up having to pay for it.

“If we don’t adopt both the residential and commercial/industrial, our existing residential taxpayers bear the burden of these costs," said Deaver.

However, critics of the measure say it will make new housing too expensive because developers will have to pass-on the costs to buyers.

“This is going to be the biggest detriment that Waco has seen as far as residential growth," said Larry Jackson, the only person who spoke on the proposed ordinance during Tuesday’s public hearing. “The burden is getting to a point that there will be no affordable housing in Waco, Texas.”

“Y’all need to reconsider the impact this is going to have,” Jackson told the council.

The city has been working on this for years, Deaver said.

“I’m pleased with the work that’s been done,” he said. “There’s been some strategic exemptions and limits”

“There’s a spectrum, it seems to me, between simple and fair, and we’re trying to balance between simple and fair, and I think we’re doing that and aiming more towards fair,” he said, admitting the commercial calculations were more complicated.

Deaver said there would be a five-year “ramp up period" for both the residential and commercial developments.

The city council will take a final vote on the ordinance during its regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 3.

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