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Council considers impact fees…again

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Once again last week, the Lockhart City Council discussed the structure of the city”s environmental impact fees, and once again, questions arose as to whether the fees should continue to be charged.
Since environmental impact fees were introduced in 2002, the city has fallen under heavy fire from area builders, developer

s and now, politicians as to the effectiveness of the fees. Currently, Lockhart is the only city in the region that charges a road impact fee. Councilmember Lew White led the charge last Wednesday to discuss eliminating the fee.
When they were introduced, the environmental impact fees were meant to help the existing tax-base, putting a significant amount of the burden of development on developers. However, in three years, the city has collected only $541,000 in road impact fees, less than 9.5 percent of the total value needed to fund the developments the fees were intended for.
“We”re really falling behind in collection now, but we could have a building boom and catch up,” said city planner Dan Gibson.
In anticipation of a boom, Gibson, under the instruction of the Planning and Zoning Commission, which oversees the impact fees, requested that the council do away with the current impact fee discounts and return to a policy of charging 100 percent of the fees..
“Is it the committee”s recommendation that we more than triple the road impact fees?” White challenged Gibson. White continued to say that he does not believe we should be charging road impact fees when other areas, which are developing much more quickly than Lockhart, are not doing so.
“But the other places have higher fees than we do already, even though they don”t charge road impact fees,” Gibson said.
The council agreed to continue with the reductions in road impact fees for commercial developments, asking again that the fees be reviewed to determine whether they are effective, or whether they are doing more harm to Lockhart”s growth than good.
The council approved allocations of city funds to non-profit human service organizations. As they begin budget talks, the council has allocated $22,776 for contributions. Most of the organizations that approached the council last month to request funds have been granted at least a portion of what they requested.
In brief council news:
The council reviewed preliminary budget figures from the various city departments. In the coming weeks, the council will hold budget workshops in an attempt to prepare and approve the budget for the coming fiscal year.
The city awarded a contract to Westhill Paving, Inc., of San Marcos for street maintenance and repair.
A memorandum of understanding was approved between the city and the Lockhart Independent School District for two school resource police officers to be housed on LISD campuses for the coming school year.
The council will meet again on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m in the Glosserman Conference Room of Lockhart City Hall.

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