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Boise City Council Mulling Increases for Sewer Rates, Impact Fees for Police, Fire, Parks

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When the Boise City Council gavels into session Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers will be asked sign off on a series of rate increases to cover Boise sewer operations and maintenance costs. According to city officials, $73 million of $100 million-plus in capital expenditures over the next five years will be related to phosphorous removal and temperature mitigation required by new EPA standards. 

While sewer fee increases are already built into the Fiscal Year 2016 city budget, the City Council is being asked to give formal approval to the increases. Once enacted, the new fees will mean a 19.6 percent increase for most Boise Sewer District customers, equating to about $2.37 more per month for the average residential user and a total average monthly bill of $18.91.

Additionally, the council will be updated on proposed changes to the city's Capital Improvement Plan and proposed updates to local impact fees, which include growth projections and how that growth will impact police, fire and park services offered by the city of Boise. 

Impact fees are assessed for new residential and commercial construction to help pay for a share of the facilities in order to lessen the effect of that growth on existing residents.

Over the next 10 years, the cost of new infrastructure for police, fire and parks is expected to be near $78 million, but current impact fees would only fund approximately 40 percent of those costs. City officials say current impact fees for parks haven't been updated since 2004 and haven't been changed for fire and police since 2008. Officials are proposing new fee increases to phase in over time. Before that, they're planning to host a public hearing Sept. 29 on the matter before putting the new fee schedule in place.

For new residential construction, impact fees for police, fire and parks are approximately $2,021 (assuming an average 2,055-square-foot single unit). Boise officials are proposing that those fees bump up to $2,494. For new non-residential construction (industrial, office and retail), impact fees for police and fire are $270 per 1,000 square feet. Boise officials are proposing those fees to go down $38 for industrial but increase to $555 for office and $1,102 for retail.