The Payson Town Council unanimously approved a plan to give developers up to 10 years to pay infrastructure fees that can add up to more than $10,000 per house and far more for commercial developments.
The council last week approved the second reading of an ordinance that would allow developers to make annual payments for up to a decade — perhaps without paying interest.
The measure had provoked some questions initially. Late last year, the town council approved an ordinance that would allow developers to spread out the fees — but which specified that the developer would have to pay interest on the unpaid balance.
When a new restaurant facing more than $100,000 in town fees asked the town to not only spread out its payments but waive interest — it spurred a council discussion about fairness and whether the town should be immediately waiving the requirements of the just-adopted ordinance.
So last week, the council changed the wording of the ordinance — making it clear that the council could approve any interest rate it pleased — including no interest rate at all.
Councilor Ed Blair asked how the ordinance would affect someone with a $100,000 bill for fees — which would stem mostly from a water development fee intended to help pay for the Blue Ridge pipeline.
The police and parks departments also receive money from much smaller impact fees. On new homes, the town collects about $10,000 in fees and the Northern Gila County Sanitary District collects about $5,000 —although the district has accumulated a massive surplus from past fees.
“This allows the council to set that rate of interest at whatever level the council determines,” said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans.
“Would they pay $10,000 each year (for 10 years)?” asked Blair.
“We would amortize it — like a home loan,” said Town Attorney Tim Wright.
With that, the council voted 7-0 for the new wording on spreading out impact fees.