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Monmouth Sdcs Could Soon Soar

MONMOUTH -- A proposal to hike development costs in Monmouth -- significantly, at that -- will come to a vote in the coming months.

MONMOUTH -- A proposal to hike development costs in Monmouth -- significantly, at that -- will come to a vote in the coming months.

Monmouth City Council will hold a public hearing on, then consider an ordinance this spring, updating its parks and transportation system development charges (SDCs).

The transportation SDC would jump from $314 to $3,502 per single-family residence.

Those are one-time fees charged to builders as a way of offsetting the costs of public improvements necessitated by growth.

"It's beyond time," Mayor John Oberst said at a meeting on Jan. 4. "It should have been done a long time ago."

The city updated its park system master plan -- which outlines improvements through 2030 -- two years ago. It then commissioned studies in 2009 and last year to suggest rate increases for associated SDCs.

Monmouth's problem is its current parks and transportation SDCs were last updated in 1994. That means missed opportunities for funding improvements.

"All due respect, having to go from $394 to more than $3,000 ... that's just negligence from past councilors and city managers," Councilor Jon Carey said during the meeting.

The current recommendation increases the parks SDC from $1,484 to $1,726 per single-family residence, and the transportation fee by more than 10 times.

If approved, that hike would take place in thirds over three years. Afterward, both SDCs would have regular increases tied to construction and engineering price indexes.

Even with the changes, Monmouth's parks SDC would still be lower than neighboring Independence and Dallas. Its transportation fee would be $400 higher than Independence's.

On more than one occasion, councilors stressed inadequate funding as a reason for the city of Dallas to propose a street fee to cover maintenance. That measure failed soundly in November.

Councilors were torn in the fall on the issue of raising costs because of the economy.

"But not doing something to avoid being unpopular because you're raising fees, it just comes back to bite you somewhere else," Councilor Ben Meyer said. "We're really doing a disservice to (residents) by not raising these."

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