Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 80° Clear
News >  Idaho

Batt Indicates He’s Open To Statewide Impact Fees North Idaho Cities Say They Need Fees To Deal With Growing Pains

Gov. Phil Batt doesn’t like impact fees or local-option taxes, but he said Wednesday he might support them if the Legislature makes a good case.

“I’d like to see the impetus for that demonstrated in the Legislature,” Batt told the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference. “I never see it. I’m willing to talk about it.”

He also agreed reluctantly, under questioning from local officials, that perhaps the authority to charge impact fees should be expanded beyond Ada County.

“I guess I don’t see why Ada County should have opportunity for an impact fee that other parts of the state don’t have,” Batt said. But, he added, “I’m a pretty reluctant dragon.”

North Idaho cities and counties long have pushed for impact fees as a way to cope with the costs of growth. But their repeated attempts to win that option from the Legislature have been turned back.

Impact fees are fees charged on new construction, to help pay for specific services that local governments must provide to new homes and businesses. Ada County has impact fees for roads and parks.

Batt said Ada County’s legislation allows the fees only under strict conditions. “I have no objection to the Legislature making that statewide,” he said.

“I am willing to discuss nearly anything. If there is a sizable group of legislators who have any sort of proposal, I’ll listen. I’m not saying I’m signing on.”

Kootenai County Commissioner Dick Compton, who chatted with Batt after the conference, said, “It’s always encouraging when you hear the governor has an open mind on that.”

Local governments and their voters should be able to make their own decisions, Compton said. “We’re just asking for the same kind of consideration from the governor and Legislature as they look for from the federal government.”

Sen. Jerry Thorne, R-Nampa, chairman of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee, wasn’t convinced.

He said he thought perhaps Ada County should lose its impact fee authority if it’s a question of having a privilege other areas don’t get.

But Thorne also indicated he might support giving other areas the impact fee option “for some very narrow purposes.”

, DataTimes

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.