This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A one-year moratorium on impact fees on new construction, set to expire Nov. 2, cost Salt Lake City an estimated $7.1 million money that would have been spent on parks, streets, police and fire crews.
The City Council is now leaning toward extending the moratorium by about four months a time frame that would forfeit an additional $500,000 per month.
Council members have complained that Mayor Jackie Biskupski did not give them a new impact-fee proposal until mid-October and said they have not had time to analyze it.
The mayor has said her administration did not receive a final draft report of a consultant's recommendation until mid-September. The administration then sought public input and forwarded its plan to the council as quickly as it could.
Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall, who was one of two council members to vote against the moratorium a year ago, said Tuesday that while the municipality continues to lose impact fees, the city keeps growing.
"This is real money," she said. "There is growth happening and levels of services that are shifting."
The study by the firm of Lewis, Young, Robertson and Burningham Inc. forecasts that Utah's capital (population 193,000) will add up to 28,208 residents during the next 10 years. That is based on the construction of 545 single-family houses and 7,064 apartments. It also projects growth in commercial construction will continue through 2025.
Mendenhall went on to criticize the administration for neglecting to forward a proposal to extend the moratorium, or the option of letting it expire.
The time-out on impact fees was adopted so the municipality could get a better handle on how to spend the funds that were designed to keep services from declining during periods of growth. Former Mayor Ralph Becker proposed the moratorium in the face of harsh criticism from developers who believed the city's fee structure was onerous. At the same time, impact-fee cash was piling up because Utah law is strict on how the funds can be spent. Salt Lake City has been challenged by the law's intricacies.
Funds from such fees must be spent within six years or returned.
Based on the consultant's report, the mayor has forwarded a recommendation to the council that would boost fees on construction of single-family dwellings while cutting them on multi-family projects, such as apartments and condominiums.
But while single-family development is largely built out in Salt Lake City, the capital is undergoing an apartment-building boom. Several council members have wondered aloud whether cutting fees on such projects is the best strategy.
The council is next scheduled to discuss impact fees Nov. 1. Councilman Stan Penfold said it is likely the body will pass a new impact-fee schedule in early December. Such a new ordinance could not be implemented for 90 days, according to state law.