Village Board considers recommendation that charge be raised to $1,100
With the prospect of having to pay for a major expansion of the Fredonia fire station, Village of Fredonia officials are exploring the possibility of significantly increasing the impact fee for fire protection.
Village President Chuck Lapicola noted that a recently completed study for the fire department contends increasing the fire protection impact fee to $1,102 for each new home built could be justified.
The village currently assesses an impact fee of about $200 for fire protection.
According to the study prepared by Strand Associates, upgrading the fire station could cost as much as $2.6 million.
For that amount, a new building would provide 7,300 square feet of vehicle storage space and 5,900 square feet of office and support space.
According to the study, renovating the current station and erecting an addition of more than 7,500 square feet would cost about $1.8 million. Such an improvement would address department needs for the next 20 years.
Impact fees allow a community to charge the owners of newly constructed buildings a portion of the cost of added municipal amenities, such as an enlarged fire station, which can be attributed to growth.
Municipalities have seven years to hold on to collected impact fees before the money must be spent or returned.
The Village Board took no action on adjusting the impact fee at its last meeting, but officials were divided on the issue.
“We should start planning on moving on this next year or the year after. I don’t want to see this study put away on a shelf for eight years,” said Trustee Don Dohrwardt.
“Our current fire station is costing us money, because when we order new equipment it has to be special-ordered to get in under our 12-foot doors.”
Trustee Jill Bertram suggested a more cautious approach on the issue.
“Right now our focus needs to be financing Fredonia Avenue. You have to show me there is a real need for a new fire station,” Bertram said.
She also doubted the assumptions incorporated into the facility study, including the projection that 424 homes could be added to the village by 2032. That projection included data from a 2003 report that anticipated development from two subdivisions that have since been shelved.
“The village hasn’t grown that much in the 30 plus years I have lived here,” Bertram said.