Mesa’s new method of col lecting police and fire impact fees will cost the city an esti mated $465,000 per year, pos sibly delaying construction of police and fire stations and the purchase of vehicles and equipment.
A Mesa City Council deci sion Monday increased police and fire impact fees for single-family homes and apartments but cut commer cial rates in most instances.
The city was anticipating collecting $2.3 million in police and fire fees during fis cal 2005-06, which ends June 30. But with the new rates starting Feb. 19, the revised estimate is down to $2.1 mil lion.
The police fee for a new single-family home increased 51 percent, from $226 to $341 The fire fee was raised 62 per cent, from $145 to $235. This raises the total impact fees from $5,028 to $5,233, a cost passed on to new-home buyers. The average Valley singlefamily home impact fee is $7,824.
For all retail, office and industrial uses, the new police fee is $252 per 1,000 square feet and the fire fee is $160 per 1,000 square feet.
To establish the new fees, Mesa studied its police and fire calls, which showed that residences attracted more calls than businesses and therefore should pay a higher percentage of the fees.
In the past, there were 22 different commercial rates depending on the type of use. Now there is one.
"The other system didn’t make common sense," Councilman Rex Griswold said. "This seems to be a fairer system and a better way to have people invest in the community."
The fire and police impact fees can only be used on capital expenses for those departments, such as buying land, building a new station, or purchasing vehicles and equipment.
They cannot be used to hire more officers or firefighters or for other operating expenses, Chuck Odom, assistant budget director, said. The collected revenue cannot be transferred to the General Fund, where Mesa is facing a $37.7 million shortfall.
Mesa also collects impact fees for water, sewer, parks, cultural, library, general government and stormwater drainage facilities. The fire and police fees were last adjusted in 2001.