Town council to discuss transportation impact fee rate increase

March 15 discussion to focus on calendar for community involvement, input

How much is too much, and how much is enough?

Those are two of the questions members of the Queen Creek Town Council have been discussing in terms of how much to increase transportation impact fees in order to improve and expand the town’s roadways.

During their March 15 regular meeting, council members will continue that exchange of ideas, this time focusing on the proposed calendar and public input process to update the transportation impact fees.

The council will meet starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Queen Creek Town Hall, 22350 S. Ellsworth Road. The public is welcome to attend.

As posted, the item is for discussion only and no action will be taken. In general, no public comment will be taken, according to the meeting agenda, which may be viewed on the town’s website: www.queencreek.org.

The town in August approved a contract with Willdan Financial Services to update the town’s transportation impact fees, according to a staff report by Queen Creek Finance Director Scott McCarty.

The process to update an impact fee is outlined in state law. It is very specific in the steps that must be taken and ensures extensive stakeholder involvement, Mr. McCarty said in a staff report to the council.

The report may be viewed in the meeting’s information packet on the town’s website.

Impact fees are a one-time fee assessed to new development to pay for the proportionate share of infrastructure costs new developments place on a community. The town has eight impact fees: wastewater, water, parks and recreation, transportation, library, fire, town facilities and public safety.

The current transportation fee is $1,263 for a single-family home, according to Mr. McCarty’s presentation.
Transportation impact fees are used for “necessary public services.” These include arterial and collector streets, traffic signals and right-of-ways, according to Mr. McCarty.

As the town’s population has grown, the transportation impact fees also have increased. In May 18, 2006, the fee was $459. It jumped to $707 by Nov. 5, 2007, and again to $727 by July 1, 2008.

During the economic recession, the fee decreased to $631 by Jan. 1, 2012. However, it jumped again to $1,263 by Aug. 1, 2014.

The proposed increase to the transportation impact fee, which is an estimate and not a final recommendation from staff, increases the fee for a single-family home from $1,263 to $4,800, Vice Mayor Jeff Brown said in an e-mailed response to questions.

That would fall on the mid- to high-side compared to surrounding communities. The non-residential increases would place Queen Creek in the mid-range compared to surrounding communities, Vice Mayor Brown said in his e-mail.

The town council feels the fees increase is necessary to help offset the transportation infrastructure improvement plan it approved in which the plan identified $196 million in roadway needs while adding 91 new lane miles through 41 projects over the next 10 years, Vice Mayor Brown said in his e-mail.

“Queen Creek is a young community, incorporated in 1989. Not uncommon to many growing communities, the town has various roadway needs,” Vice Mayor Brown said. “We know our community needs more roadways; from driving the roads every day to hearing from neighbors and the results of the 2016 Citizen Survey, road congestion is a concern.”

Identifying the need is easy; determining how to pay for it is more difficult, the vice mayor said.

“The initial findings of the Transportation Impact Fee Study indicate that the (current) fee is too low for new growth to pay for its proportionate share of infrastructure costs for the roads needed to accommodate the new development over the next 10 years. Meaning, the current impact fees only included seven road improvement projects and the new impact fee for the next 10 years includes 41,” the vice mayor said.

When the town council authorizes starting the impact outreach and hearing process, it will take another eight months for the fee to be effective. During this eight-month process, significant public outreach will take place, including stakeholder involvement, according to Mr. McCarty’s presentation.

There are requirements when the public hearings must be held. There will be four public hearings over the proposed 11-month process. Given the proposed timeline, a new fee would not be effective until March 1, 2018.

Other agenda items

Also on the March 15 agenda:

In a closed-door executive session, the town council and the town’s legal counsel are expected to discuss the following:

•the possible acquisition of real property (sports complex). A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(7)
•the possible acquisition of real property in the Town Center. A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(7)
•the possible acquisition of real property for Queen Creek Wash improvements and/or right-ofway. A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(7)
•a development agreement (northeast corner of Ellsworth and Queen Creek roads). A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(3)

The consent agenda includes the following items. Matters listed under the consent agenda are considered to be routine and will be enacted by one motion and one vote. Members of the council and or staff may comment on any item without removing it from the consent agenda or remove any item for separate discussion and consideration.

•Consideration and possible approval of a Professional Services Contract with Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. in an amount not to exceed $75,000 for a review of the town’s accounting and budgeting practices (including internal controls) and the necessary budget adjustments.

•Consideration and possible approval of a one-year contract with up to four, one-year renewals with Holiday Lighting Company for signage maintenance and installation services on an as-needed basis not to cumulatively exceed $20,000 (IFB No. 17-012). (Budgeted in fiscal year 2016-17)

•Consideration and possible approval of a cooperative purchase agreement with Cactus Asphalt through a Pinal County job order contract in an amount not to exceed $52,000 for pavement preservation. (Budgeted in fiscal year 2016-17)

•Consideration and possible approval of a professional services contract in an amount not to exceed $181,350 with Consulting Engineering, Inc., for right-of-way acquisition services for the Riggs Road from Crismon Road to Meridian Road project and necessary budget adjustments.

•Consideration and possible approval of a cooperative purchase agreement with Sunland Asphalt through a city of Mesa contract in an amount not to exceed $144,000 for residential pavement preservation. (Budgeted in fiscal year 2016-17).

•Consideration and possible approval of a construction manager-at-risk contract with Haydon Building Corp. in an amount not to exceed $141,105 for preconstruction services for the West Park Project No. P0610. (Budgeted in fiscal year 2016-17)

•Consideration and possible approval of a special event liquor license for Vintage and Vino to be held at Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre March 31-April 1, and the wine festival application submitted by Javelina Leap for the same event.

•Consideration and possible approval of an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Phoenix for the use of the Phoenix Business Intelligence System for sales tax analytics for $2,000 for one-time setup fees and ongoing annual costs of $375 per year.

•Consideration and possible approval of the fourth amendment to the town’s agreement with Right Away Disposal for residential waste services, town facility services, neighborhood recycling drop-off site services, special events services and self-haul services; extending the term for one year from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018; and making minor changes as reflected in the amendment, not to exceed $1,574,600.

•Consideration and possible approval of Resolution 1142-17 of the mayor and council to declare a public need and necessity and a public purpose: authorizing and directing staff to take all actions necessary; and to sign any and all documents: and to pay any and all costs or fees in order to acquire interest in real and/or personal property, located along Queen Creek Wash north of Cloud Road and west of Rittenhouse Road and also known as Maricopa County Assessor’s parcel 304-92-010Q from owner Arnett Family Inc.; 304-92-988 from owner Cloud Creek Ranch HOA; 304-92-435 from owner Cloud Creek Ranch II HOA; 304-92-005G and 304-92-155B from owner Cloud Ranches LP; and 304-92-003G Rittenhouse 55 Lender LLC, through gift, purchase, or eminent domain; identifying the real property as being for the purpose of Queen Creek Wash improvements.

Town council meetings are generally held starting at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Queen Creek Town Hall, S. Ellsworth Road. Public hearings are not held before 7 p.m.
Agendas and live streaming video of the meetings may be viewed on the town’s website at www.queencreek.org.

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