Impact Fees

By  | 

It's not exactly the answer for financially strapped stateline schools, but it's a start. In Tuesday's primary election voters approved an advisory referendum on impact fees in Harlem Township

"I think it builds a strong case for moving to implement impact fees," says Winnebago County board member, Doug Aurand.

The vote gives the county the ok to set up fees for developers building new homes in the area. The idea is impact fees would ease growing pains and offset the expense of bringing new students to school districts, but leaders caution the use is limited.

"It can be used for construction of new buildings or updating or modernizing older buildings. It cannot be used for any other purposes," says Aurand.

For almost ten years the city of Belvidere has been collecting impact fees raising more than $2.7 million, but the money's not just for schools. It's also used for law enforcement, the park district and the Fire Department.

"We're all in this growth mode together. It's pretty much an accepted practice as you look at growth patterns in the collar counties," says Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton.

Those opposed to impact fees say it could deter development, but Brereton says building is still booming in Belvidere. Over the past ten years Belvidere impact fees have pumped $1.7 million in the city's schools.

Just this week, Belvidere and Boone County adjusted their impact fees. The fees are based on the number of bedrooms in a newly constructed home and the land value.