Facebook Twitter

IMPACT FEE IS ONLY FAIR SOLUTION

SHARE IMPACT FEE IS ONLY FAIR SOLUTION

I am very disappointed that the Utah Legislature has chosen to interfere with local school districts in trying to solve the problems they are experiencing as a result of tremendous population growth. The "impact fee" fairly puts the burden of growth where it belongs, on those who are moving in and causing the need for expanded infrastructure. Raising real estate taxes is not particularly desirable or effective.

The Legislature's equalization bill takes a good deal of any extra money raised away from areas like Park City. It redistributes it to other districts, including ones not having any growth problems. This causes us to raise taxes more than is required to fix our problem and adds to other districts' budgets when they have no need for increased funds to cope with growth needs, perhaps even allowing a decrease in their local taxes. Hardly a well-targeted solution to a problem.Raising taxes also unfairly punishes longtime and elderly residents who no longer have children in school and may not be able to afford steep new tax increases. In the town I grew up in, I saw this cycle of rising real estate taxes force out several elderly people whose farms had been in their families for literally hundreds of years, simply because they could no longer afford the real estate taxes: This is unconscionable and should be illegal.

The logic of a statewide ban on impact fees escapes me. Why would you restrict a local community in solving a local problem the way it best sees fit? The impact fees are not being imposed statewide; if other districts see the fees as the best way to solve growth problems, I don't see how denying that option does them any good.

By intention or accident, the only parties this legislation outlawing impact fees is helping is real estate developers. It would seem this well-funded and connected minority is more and more controlling local politics for its own hit-and-run personal gain. The rest of us, unless we spend every waking moment fighting them, will lose the quality of life that we are so blessed with here. I wonder how much the real estate developers have contributed to the campaigns of the legislators supporting this legislation to outlaw communities from charging impact fees?

Bruce W. Kirchenheiter

Park City