Without question, school districts need more money to meet the cost of educating more students as the population grows. But, however we look at the school's use of impact fees, it's only the new home owner who ultimately pays the fee. This fee, when coupled with the property taxes, hits the new owner twice with school-related charges while other homeowners are not.
Charging impact fees for new housing is one way to raise funds to offset the rising cost of education. In Pasco, for example, the impact fee for schools is $4,700 per residential building permit. With this impact fee included, new low-end housing permits can exceed $15,000 before any construction begins. Arguably, some relief from this mandatory fee is reasonable for those making building improvements to low-income communities and for individual owners who build to develop their underused properties.
Most commercial sectors of the community promote and profit from residential growth, such as retailers, utility companies and residents. Cities become eligible for larger government grants based on their size. It appears more equitable to have all beneficiaries of population growth to participate in financing their schools, not only through property taxes but perhaps a special sales tax.
DALLAS BARNES, Pasco