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JUNE 16, 1997

Opinion

Development impact fees

impact fees Woodinville Councilmember Barbara Solberg is right about the multiplier effect and housing price effects caused by development impact fees. The City of Redmond decided against school impact fees because of such effects.
   Since the value of existing homes is governed by the price of new homes, whatever increases new home prices also increases existing home prices, which means that assessed valuation and annual real estate taxes continue upward.
   Besides, really consider the old adage that new development doesn't pay its way. Think of the years that the vacant land has paid school and road taxes without impacting schools and roads at all. Then think of the taxes that increase and continue after a home is built, plus the levies and bond issues that increase taxes on both developed and undeveloped land. The conclusion would be that new development does not pay its way--except subsidized housing for which impact fees are not collected.
   And let's not forget that the legislature just authorized the permanent high levy lid whereby school districts may collect more annual levy money. The Northshore School District has already adjusted its administrative/non-teaching budget in anticipation of that authorization's failure. Instead of leaving those cuts in place after bill passage, the district has already reinstated the higher spending.
   The more that government agencies have, the more they find use for. Impact fees are an inflation factor that should be foregone.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville