Council OKs impact fee to help finance park upgrades

Assessment intended to ensure new residents pay their share will increase cost of building houses in Port
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday created a new source to help fund park improvements.

Aldermen unanimously approved imposing a park impact fee on new houses built in the community.

The fee is intended to ensure future city residents pay their portion of the cost of new parks and capital improvements to parks, officials explained.

The fee, which is collected when someone takes out a building permit, would be $3,368 for a single-family house and $2,470 for a duplex.

The fee for a multifamily building would be $1,347 per one-bedroom unit, $2,246 per two-bedroom unit and $3,368 per three-bedroom unit.

The impact fees will automatically increase by 3% a year, although the Common Council could adjust that as a result of changing facility needs, inflation and increasing costs.

For someone taking out a $315,000 mortgage for a $350,000 house, the fee would add $19 a month, officials said.

A recent study showed the city’s population is estimated to grow from 12,614 in 2020 to 14,168 in 2030 and 15,401 in 2040.

To serve the new and existing population, the city is expected to spend $3.2 million on its parks. Of that amount, $3.13 million can be attributed to future growth in the city.

Once the city has collected $3.13 million, the impact fee will end, City Administrator Tony Brown said.

To ensure the city doesn’t collect more than that amount, Brown said, there will be an annual audit of the impact fee.

Among the new facilities planned are neighborhood parks in the Greystone subdivision, the Ansay property on the city’s northwest side and Tillman land on the southeast side, and a mini West Side Park.

The city also plans improvements to Antoine, Bley, City, Hidden Hills, Windrush and Woods at White Pines parks.

Port isn’t alone in charging an impact fee. The city’s study shows Port would have the seventh highest fee among 10 communities in the area, behind both Cedarburg and Grafton.

This isn’t the first time the city has imposed impact fees. From 1999 to 2019, it collected impact fees to help pay for four projects — an upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant, additions to the fire station and library and the police station.

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