YOUNGSVILLE, Louisiana — Officials are debating whether to levy a fee for each new residential permit issued in Youngsville that would generate income needed to maintain infrastructure in the coming years.
Mayor Ken Ritter told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1KfRnux) Youngsville's robust population growth — over a thousand permits for new homes issued over the past two years — is putting a strain on the roads, sewer system and other public works responsibilities,
Ritter is proposing charging residential developers and home builders a $2,250 "impact fee" that ultimately would be paid by home buyers. Ritter said $2,250 is a figure he came up with to get the discussion started. He also said he is not proposing a fee to be levied against new businesses.
If the five-member City Council OKs its passage, Youngsville would be the first government in Lafayette Parish to impose the fee, which is required in other parts of the U.S. and in some Louisiana parishes including St. Tammany and East Baton Rouge.
"The struggle for me is, I do not want to discourage development" of residential tracts, Ritter said last week. "We are open for business. But it's no secret that we are heavy residential."
Ritter and the five-member City Council preside over a city with tax revenue that pales when compared with the nearby city of Broussard, which has an enviable sales tax base because of the businesses located there. Ritter said last week that one of the needs in the next few years will be better roads leading to where the Lafayette Parish School Board plans to build a new high school.
According to a study by Austin, Texas, firm Duncan Associates, in 2010, the average impact fee levied in the U.S. was almost $11,800. In Louisiana in 2010, East Baton Rouge Parish levied a fee of $2,841, while St. Tammany charged $3,077.
The study said the fees are collected and used on maintenance and to keep up with growth by allocating money in a variety of public works areas: roads, drinking water, sewer systems, storm water, parks, fire and police, libraries, solid waste facilities and schools.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com