Ron's First Reflection

September 24, 2010

Well, this reflection may be more of a rant.  With over 37 years in the building business, the one thing that really bugs me is the cities disregard for value/affordable housing.  It almost seems that the cities have forgotten that when we can house our people, business will show up and want to be in the city.  Residential rooftops bring in businesses which create jobs, and raise the tax base and increase the city’s revenue.  Over the last several years, cities have forgotten this and have imposed impact fees on new homes only to make the new developments and homes pay a very unfair tax.  Well here we go again.  The City of Fort Worth in its best wisdom is considering upping the Transportation Impact Fee again.  They just increased the fee to $2,000 for all NEW homes permitted, and now want to increase it again making the fee $3,000.00.  With all the other fees, building permit, Water Impact Fee, Sewer Impact Fee, etc. the fees for a New 2,000 square foot home permitted in Fort Worth before any construction is started, we have to write check to the City of Fort Worth for a total of $4,200.00 and now they want to raise that cost to $5,200.00!  What you need to know is you have to pay this fee in the cost of the new home you are buying.  This has gotten to be ridiculous.  There is no increase in new home starts and the city is losing money due to lack of new home starts.  Fees like these makes the consumer look to a more affordable price in a city that does not charge these high fees.  The same exact floor plan in another city other than Fort Worth (in a comparable community with the same lot costs) will be the same $4,200.00 or $5,200.00 cheaper.  And the City of Fort Worth which had a $70,000,000.00 budget deficit (just balanced by laying off hundreds of jobs and cutting services to city pools and libraries) can not see that these fees do nothing but drive the budget further in debt.  The City of Midlothian in 2010 waived over $5,400.00 in fees and has seen an increase in building starts which has brought in revenue and tax base dollars.  Cities in California have waived fees as well, trying to jump start a down housing industry.  Cities believe this tax, and it is a tax on New Homes only, works because they are taxing someone that does or may not live in the City currently, so they don’t make voters unhappy.  New homes pay their own way and contribute to the tax base and revenue stream.  Let’s start building New Homes encouraging people to live in our city instead of trying to run them out of it.
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