The rap on builders in Larimer County, Colo., is that development is a drain on community services and that new homeowners don't pay their fair share.
The HBA of Northern Colorado says impact fees on a $200,000 home are in excess of $20,000, so when county officials discussed an impact fee to offset the cost of jail expansion, the builders cried foul, especially when the county claimed that part of the need for new prisons was caused by new development.
The NAHB's Paul Emrath says the FBI's crime reporting system and the victimization survey conducted by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics do not collect information on the age of homes where crimes occur. This lack of data makes it difficult to tie new development to increased crime.
Although a prison impact fee would never raise the multimillion dollars required for a substantial project, the sentiment among county officials is that new homeowners would at least pay a portion toward the construction of new prisons, especially at a time when the county is facing a meth epidemic. The county plans to conduct a prison impact fee study next year to determine how much such a fee would be.
Last month, Larimer County voters defeated a four-year, $75 million prison expansion proposal that would have been funded by property taxes. The impact fee study will move forward after the first of the new year.