SPOKANE, Wash. — They're called general facilities charges. Developers pay them when building new homes and the city uses the money to improve critical infrastructure, like roads, or water and sewer access.
Those fees haven't changed much since 2002. But, Spokane has, and the city needs more money to expand. But, councilman Jonathan Bingle says those gaps can't be closed overnight.
"You're talking close to $30,000 worth of fees that were added overnight to those developments," Bingle said.
Bingle worries the dramatic jump in fees will price even more people out of Spokane's housing market, and he's already hearing from developers.
"I got an email today about a 77 lot development that was going in and they had originally allotted $186,000 for GFCs and that number is well over $2 million now," Bingle said. "When you're talking about us trying to substantially increase the amount of housing, this is something that will have an impact and people need to understand that."
Bingle and councilman Cathcart voted against the ordinance, and instead suggested raising fees 66%. They are now in negotiations with other council members, and Bingle hopes the ordinance will be amended in a few weeks. He says the city and developers need to find common ground.
"Thousands of units are affected by this and we need to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot," Bingle said.
The Spokane Association of Realtors surveyed the top 100 builders in the region and claim 73% of them said they would be stopping projects immediately unless something changes.
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