Why Does Payson Have Some Of Arizona’S Highest Development Fees?

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While listening to the radio recently, the owner of a painting company in Chicago lamented how the housing debacle had left his business in the doldrums and he had been forced to lay off 12 of his 15 employees.

The man explained that he has had a lack of business because people in Chicago are unable to sell their homes and move into the retirement living facilities.

Since his target market is retirement living facilities, where he refurbishers units before retirees move in, this fact was hitting the business hard.

The conversation made me realize how one event, group or circumstance can impact another business and even a whole community.

Case in point, in 2006, when money was no object, people were building homes in our communities at an astounding rate.

Today, potential homeowners are taking a closer look at development fees before building.

Both the Town of Payson and the Northern Gila County Sanitary District impose various development fees. The sanitary district and the Town of Payson have charged as much as $15,800 for a single family residence to hook up, people have said.

So much for affordable housing.

I believe it is not the housing development fees that are hampering our economic development and housing market in Payson, but commercial development fees.

Why would an investor choose to invest in our area when he could build a hotel or retirement facility with zero development fees in competing communities?

We assess development fees by equivalent residential units (ERUs) where most communities do it by meter size.

Our development fees can be as much as 300 percent higher than other communities.

If we cannot bring investors in, we cannot create living wage employment.

How much money do the entities need?

For example, the Northern Gila County Sanitary District (which is a separate government entity) is sitting on more than $10 million in cash, yet it continues to charge development fees, not to mention a yearly assessment on property taxes, which are in addition to quarterly sewer bills.

Payson has some of the highest development fees in the state. Our government entities should consider holding a summit to determine the economic impact of these fees.

Your housing values are not only affected by the national economy, but also by the economic vitality of the local economy.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker with Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.

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