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Proposed fee to fund first responders could drive up housing prices in Colorado Springs

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Posted at 1:08 AM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 03:14:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — More people in Colorado Springs means more emergencies are bound to happen, but who is going to pay for them?

During a Work Session on Monday, Colorado Springs City Council discussed a possible new fee in order to help fund fire stations and police substations over the next ten years.

"The revenue has to come either from a fee of some sort, or from a tax of some sort. Those are really the two choices that we have. You have another alternative of not to fund public safety, but I don't think that's what any of us on city council believe," said Councilmember Wayne Williams after the meeting.

Developers for new developments and some re-developments, spanning from homes to businesses, would be require to pay a fee based on the tier system shown below.

Outline of the tier system used to charge developers and potential impact fee.

The revenue would cover the cost of roughly 70% of anywhere between five to seven new fire stations for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, and two to three new Colorado Springs Police Substations. The remaining 30% of the cost could come from a sales tax or the city's general fund.

However, some city council members want the impact fee to cover the entire cost.

"I personally believe that it's a better thing we do... Even go to 80% as a more rational number," said Councilmember Bill Murray.

On the other hand, Mayor John Suthers pointed out that the developers will pass the cost of the fee off to the consumer, inevitably making the cost of living more expensive.

"We're not really talking about the developers. We're talking about the people who buy the houses and the people who pay the rents in the offices."

Councilmember Williams acknowledge the dilemma Mayor Suthers highlighted.

"That's part of the complication with saying, 'We want growth to pay its own way, but we also want housing to be affordable so that everyone can have a place to live in our community."

City council will vote on the impact fee on July 12, community members a welcome to weigh in on the fee during public comment.

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