Fees charged to new development in Battle Ground based on impacts to fire protection will see an increase as the city council approved an adjustment to the rates.
During its Dec. 20 meeting, the Battle Ground City Council unanimously approved an increase to its fire impact fees. The fees for development in the city were approved at $696 per single-family home, $327 per multi-family unit, and 85 cents per square foot of non-residential space.
The city’s impact fees have remained the same since 2018, Battle Ground Fire Marshal Chris Drone said during a November presentation. At that time, they were set for $555 per single-family home, $248 per multi-family unit and 59 cents per square foot for non-residential buildings.
The impact fees are used to offset capital costs, like fire stations and emergency apparatus, a news release from Clark County Fire District 3 stated. The district is expected to grow by 46% in the next 20 years.
Impact fees are a charge placed on new development, and must be paid before a building or home can be occupied. During a prior presentation to the council, capital costs in the next 20 years totaled $22.6 million with about $10.4 million attributed to the new growth, Drone said. Projects include two new fire stations, a training tower, an ambulance, a pumper truck and several squad and staff vehicles, according to the presentation.
The district is planning for a new fire station that would start serving the community in approximately 10 years, the release stated. The fees can go toward land acquisition, design or architectural services, engineering, and site development work.
“We want to make sure that new growth pays for itself,” Fire District 3 Chief Scott Sorenson said in the release. “Growth triggers the need for additional facilities and apparatus to respond to 911 calls. It’s fair that new development helps pay for the embedded costs associated with providing emergency services through impact fees.”
The city has collected an average of $187,000 per year in impact fees, the release stated. The total amount collected depends on the amount of new development in the city.
The fees can fund costs up front, reducing the amount the district needs to finance through voter-approved bonds, the release stated.
The district, which covers Battle Ground and areas in unincorporated Clark County, noted its jurisdiction outside of city limits did not have fire impact fees as the Clark County Council has not approved such a measure. The district has been pursuing the leveling of fees alongside other fire districts in the county.
“Impact fees mean our taxpayers pay less in property taxes and interest payments by reducing what we need to borrow to build a new station,” Sorenson said in the release. “We are grateful to the city for its support, and will continue to reach out to the county councilmembers for help. Our taxpayers and their constituents are the same people.”
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