Following an Impact and Connection Fee Study conducted by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc., Wilton Manors is considering updating its impact and connection fees.

The fees have not been updated in more than 15 years even though it is standard practice to update them every four to five years.

Impact fees are placed on property developers to pay for infrastructure such as police, playgrounds and other investments in the city that may need to be upgraded to accommodate city growth.

These fees will not be placed on existing residents, but new residents will face their financial influence.

Although current residents will not pay these fees, City Commissioner Chris Caputo told SFGN that residents should still be vocal about fees in upcoming meetings.

“It's really important that the existing residents come out because if the impact fees aren't there, then that means that they'll end up bearing the cost through their taxes or paying to upgrade or to implement the infrastructure that's necessary,” Caputo said.

The city commission voted unanimously during its June 28 meeting to go forward with the “extraordinary case” for impact fees by maximizing them and holding two public meetings before finalizing the fees.

Commissioner Gary Resnick described this as updating the fees “to be more in line with reality.”

The largest projected monetary fee is the parks and recreation impact fee, which is projected to increase from $1,224.28 to $2,146 for single family homes and $976.51 to $2,010 for multi-family homes.

The fee with the highest percent change is the police impact fee, which is projected to increase from $91.50 to $382 for single family homes and $360 for multi-family homes. Fire impact fees are projected to increase by $40 for single family homes and $42 for multi-family homes.

Since the current impact fees are so outdated, many types of fees do not yet exist. Under Raftelis’ guidance, the city is expected to add general government impact fees ($520 for single family and $491 for multi-family) and library fees ($112 for single family and $104 for multi-family).

Raftelis also advised the city to maintain the $0.25-per-square-foot affordable housing fee already used by the city.

Caputo started the discussion of affordable housing and how the fees may impact rent and mortgage for future Wilton Manors residents.

“The reality is, whatever the cost the developer pays, he’s going to pass it on to the renter,” Caputo said.

Commissioner Michael Bracchi offered the idea to rethink fees on single family homes.

“We want to try to keep houses affordable, right? I don’t think we want townhouses going in every possible space where they can,” Bracchi said. “[Developers] should be bearing the bulk of the fees.”

Mayor Scott Newton spoke in favor of prioritizing multi-family homes instead in hopes to pave the way for more affordable housing.

“The reality is, the multi-family is what we need to make sure is there for affordable housing for people that work on The Drive, work on the restaurants, work at the bars, work at the hotel that might be coming up — all that,” Newton said.

Raftelis also advised the City Commission to alter their utility connection charges. Their team suggested adopting a new water connection charge of $696 and increasing the wastewater charge from $2,075 to $2,441.

Non-residential buildings are also projected to account for higher impact fees. Restaurants and bars will face the brunt of the fees with an estimated $5,550, or $5.55 per square foot. Retail spaces are next to see the largest change with a projected $1,839 or $1.84 per square foot.

Residents can voice their thoughts on the fees at the upcoming city commission meeting July 12 at 7 p.m.

 

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