Clark County Fire District 3 and City of Battle Ground Tackle Growth Through Impact Fees

Clark County Fire District 3 is thanking the City of Battle Ground for approving a requested increase in the amount it collects in impact fees. These funds are used to offset capital costs, such as fire stations and emergency apparatus, associated with population growth and new development in the city limits.

Fire District 3 is expected to grow by 46% in the next 20 years. Impact fees are a charge placed on new development, and must be paid before a building or home can be occupied.

“We want to make sure that new growth pays for itself,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “Growth triggers the need for additional facilities and apparatus to respond to 911 calls. It’s fair that new development helps pay for the imbedded costs associated with providing emergency services through impact fees.”

The city has collected an average of $187,000 per year in impact fees. The total amount collected depends on the amount of new development in the city. In 2022, the fee for a single-family home is $696. Multi-family dwellings are $327 per unit. New non-residential space is charged $0.85 per square foot.

The fire district has up to 10 years to spend the money on capital items in its Capital Facilities Plan. A copy of Fire District 3’s plan can be found on the fire district’s website at www.fire3.org

Past impact fees from the city have been used to replace a fire engine for a half million dollars. Fire District 3 is now planning for a new fire station that would start serving the community in approximately 10 years. Impact fees can be used to pay upfront for things like land acquisition, design or architectural services, engineering, and site development work. Paying cash for these items helps reduce the amount Fire District 3 will need to finance through voter-approved bonds.

The state gave local communities the ability to pass impact fees to help pay for new growth. But while the city has approved and even increased them, the Clark County Council is reluctant to do so. The fire district has teamed up with other agencies in the county to ask the Clark County Council to pass impact fees in the county, but has been unsuccessful to date. “Impact fees mean our taxpayers pay less in property taxes and interest payments by reducing what we need to borrow to build a new station,” said Chief Sorenson. “We are grateful to the city for its support, and will continue to reach out to the County Councilmembers for help. Our taxpayers and their constituents are the same people.”

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