Buckley council gets rid of school impact fees

Buckley City Council members voted unanimously to remove impact fees on residential building projects that provide funding to the White River School District. The action, taken during the council’s Feb. 23 meeting, came from the findings of a study by the district.

The move will eliminate the impact fees that range from $1,465 to $2,780 to be paid by anyone seeking a residential building permit in Buckley. The 1990 Growth Management Act allows school districts to request impact fees on residential building projects upon submission of a Capital Facilities Plan and calculated impact fee to the relevant city.

According to the introduction of White River’s capital facilities plan, such impact fees are instituted in part to provide greater equity to school funding by accompanying property tax levies.

White River’s capital facilities plan projected a decline in enrollment during the next six years, based on data from previous years. The plan additionally noted that White River Middle School had closed after the 2009 school year and combined its student population with Glacier Middle School, due to reduced state funding.

In a January 2010 letter to City Administrator Dave Schmidt, White River Facilities and Transportation Services Director Rick LaBoyne explained that the lack of a request for future impact fees was likely to be a short-term situation. The district does not anticipate requesting required impact fees for several years, LaBoyne wrote.

The council action does not remove from the municipal code the language that requires the collection of impact fees on buildings. Rather, it sets the amount to be collected to zero.

In other action, the council:

• agreed to temporarily close Jefferson Avenue and provide water needs for the carnival operating during the Buckley Log Show.

• amended stormwater regulations and passed an ordinance amending sewer pretreatment regulations.

• moved to have engineering firm Heath and Associates complete a leak detection test of the city’s natural gas system.

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