VOL 2024 ISSUE 4

www . elpasobuilders . com

VOL 2024 ISSUE 4




Housing Affordability remains top priority

El Paso City Council looks to raise Impact Fees 1000 %

EPAB Members urged to take action
By Ray Adauto , EPAB
The City of El Paso ’ s El Paso Water Utility is a department where water and wastewater ( sewage ) are responsible for . EPWU is the primary administrator and largest single supplier of fresh water to the area . It has worked with the growth of the city and served as such for many years . The water utility is also run by the Public Service Board , a board of citizens administrating EPWU , with oversight by the Mayor and Council . In the 1950 ’ s then Mayor Fred Hervy , a prominent businessman and creator of the Circle K brand , proposed to take water out of politics by creating the PSB . He won approval to create the PSB and directed that they purchase outlying land for a secure method of paying for expansion . It was a way to protect an ever-growing population with water . The NAHB defines impact fees like this :
• An impact fee is a fee that is imposed by a local government on a new or proposed development project to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to the new development ( Wikipedia )
• levied on an " up-front " or " front-end " basis , usually at the time of building permit issuance or subdivision approval , or certificate of occupancy .
• prescribed by ordinance , although the dollar amount may or may not be specified . Additionally NAHB says that aside from basic issues of fairness and equity , the use of impact fees raises legal , economic , technical , administrative , policy , and financial concerns for interested parties . Without the proper legal authority , municipalities are unable to enact an impact fee . This authority is express — granted by a state legislation — or implied by a municipality ’ s inherent powers .
Municipalities that operate under Dillon ’ s Rule are limited to those powers which have been expressly granted by the state . On the other hand , home rule municipalities have a greater degree of independence and have broad discretion in the exercise of their planning and zoning powers . El Paso ’ s impact fees are regulated by state statue , and once enacted require review every five years . EPWU hires the consulting group Raftelis , a national utility consulting firm , to determine what fees if any can be imposed . The Charlette based firm came to a conclusion to get more money from each lot in sections of El Paso . Current fees for water and wastewater per lot in the Northeast are at $ 1,469 and could rise to $ 5,684 , if approved . In West El Paso , per lot fees are at $ 1,586 and could go up to $ 3257 . The east side of El Paso would see the most significant increase per lot , going from $ 1,617 to $ 17,981 . It is our opinion , and we think that of most citizens , that impact fees cause irreparable harm to a community , raise the cost of housing , and subject new home buyers disproportionately on basic services of water and wastewater . The City Council will vote on May 7 to accept the fees , amend , or reduce them . They could also deny the fees .