Monmouth SDCs may be rising

MONMOUTH -- The cost of developing in the city of Monmouth maygrow significantly before the end of the year.

MONMOUTH -- The cost of developing in the city of Monmouth may

grow significantly before the end of the year.

And the amount -- with system development charges (SDCs) related to transportation jumping from $314 to $3,502 -- has the City Council split.

"Do we want to do this now?" City Councilor Chris Larsen said. "We have no growth going on in a lot of the residential and commercial areas and we have economic development incentives out there that nobody is taking advantage of."

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

The city currently assesses a $1,484 parks SDC per single family residence. The proposed hike would bring it to $1,726.

That fee and the steeper transportation fee will be considered during the council's Oct. 5 meeting.

A need for funds to cover some of the $9 million worth of slated park improvements or capacity enhancements during the next two decades is driving the parks increase.

The two fees are also overdue. Community Development Director Mark Fancey said the last time the SDCs were revamped was 1994.

Monmouth's combined SDC charges for all utilities total $6,234 -- almost $5,000 less than what's assessed in Dallas and Independence.

"Even with proposed increases, we would still have the lowest SDCs in the three communities," Fancey said.

Councilor Ben Meyer said the city has had to play "catch-up" with several long-outdated fees or utility rates in recent years.

"We've been underinvesting in our community for so long," Meyer said.

Councilor Jon Carey said he didn't feel a $242 increase in parks SDCs per housing start would make a difference for residential construction, but wanted to delay an increase to transportation SDCs until 2011.

"Do we have to increase our SDCs this year?" Larsen asked. "Rather than add more burden to developers, I would almost say maybe we should provide more incentives.

"We're in double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment," he continued. "Foreclosures and property values are going negative in a big hurry."

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