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Oswego building fees detailed for school panel : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego building fees detailed for school panel
Official: buyer of a new $250,000 home pays about $39,000 in fees

by Lyle R. Rolfe


The buyer of a new $250,000 house in Oswego will pay up to $39,000 in various fees to the village, county, school district and other government agencies on top of the cost of the house, according to Ron Zenner, the village's community development director.

Impact fees collected by the village are given to the various taxing bodies to help them offset the additional cost for providing public services to the residents of the new homes. Without the fees, the taxing bodies would likely have to collect more in property taxes to cover their increased expenses for services.

Zenner met Monday night with members of the Oswego School District's Citizens Advisory Finance and Operations Committee to talk about the impact fees.

Mike Scaramuzzi and Brent Lightfoot, school board members and co-chairmen of the committee, invited Zenner and other village officials the to meeting. The 68 square mile school district includes all of the village along with sections of Montgomery, Aurora, Joliet, Plainfield and Yorkville.

Zenner said the impact fees are charged by the village and passed onto the appropriate taxing bodies because they do not have the authority to impose and collect the fees themselves. He noted that because of updates in fees over the years, subdivisions approved several years ago but not yet built out, will be paying less fees than subdivisions approved more recently.

Even though the economy has been bad for the past few years, there is still residential growth in the village he said.

Last year, the village issued 115 permits for new single family homes, according to information provided to the Ledger-Sentinel by the village's building and zoning department.

The fees have been in effect for the village and other area municipalities dating to the early 1990, prior to the building boom in Oswego and Montgomery.

Zenner explained what it would cost a developer in Oswego today to build a $250,000, four bedroom home on a 13,000 square-foot lot. He noted that the more expensive the home the less the fees will be because this home would generate higher taxes, reducing its impact on the taxing bodies.

The fee of most interest to the committee was the school impact fee which would be $6,351 for the home, according to Zenner.

Zenner said the village would receive $2,329 to cover expenses for municipal services.

The village also charges $986 to build and maintain roads, he said.

The Oswego Public Library District would receive $207 to take care of expenses to serve the new subdivision.

The fee for the Oswego Fire Protection District would be $1,200 and the Kendall County Highway Department would receive $1,237, which goes up four percent each year.

A fee of $18 covers the cost of adding emergency warning sirens as the village grows.

The fee system is the legacy of the City of Naperville. Because of the tremendous burden placed on school districts to build schools for children generated in the development, Naperville came up with a set of fees to cover the costs, Zenner said.

This fee was challenged by developers and taken to the Illinois Supreme Court where it was upheld and determined to be legal. Since then most area municipalities base their fees on the Naperville formulas, he said.

Developers are required to either contribute land for new schools or pay a per-acre cost if a school is not needed in a subdivision. The land must be ready for development and in an area where the district will need an additional school or schools.

The need for schools is determined by the school district using a formula that estimates how many students of all ages will come from the subdivision based on the number of bedrooms in each home.

Zenner said the formula is based on surveys done by the City of Naperville and state figures, which show how many students will be generated for each type of school--elementary, junior high and high school. The formulas also tell how much land is needed for each type of school.

If the developer does not have land to give to the school district or the district does not want land in that location, the developer must pay the school district $144,752 for each acre of land that would have been needed in this subdivision. This amount increases four percent each year, Zenner said.

There's also a requirement for the developer to donate 10 acres of land for parks for each 1,000 people in the development, Zenner said.

The last set of fees Zenner talked about were the village's lag fees.

"When a home is built there's a lag of about a year before the home is placed on the tax rolls which means a lag of that long before taxes are generated," he said.

A lag fee is figured to be $4,155 for the school district with no annual increase. The park district lag fee is $368 with a four percent annual increase. The village has a lag fee based on the Consumer Price Index which would be applied to three projects not yet started.

Zenner said there also is a $1,400 fee to connect to Fox Metro for sanitary sewer service, $7,200 to connect to the village's water system, and $1,900 to cover costs of a water meter, building permits and building inspections made on the home before it is occupied.

Zenner said the total of the numerous fees and impact fees is $39,000, which is added to the cost of the $250,000 home.

Zenner said the school district receives $15,355 or 39 percent of the total fee from each $250,000 home built.

Meeting with other
municipalities sought

Committee members said School Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt should invite representatives of the other municipalities in the district to a meeting to discuss how they affect the district.

Steve Jones, village administrator, discussed the economic situation in the village and compared it to the school district. He noted that 82 percent of the school district land is residential compared to 16 percent commercial.

He said the village is in the process of having an economic marketing study done that will tell what is happening in the retail and industrial areas. Once they get those results they can see how they would affect the school district as well as the village Jones said.

This study also will help the village decide what types of residential, industrial and commercial is needed in the village he said.

"Once we know what is needed in each area we can do a much better job of targeting our efforts and spending our resources," he added.

Jones said Zenner also has gone to various trades shows and similar events to recruit commercial and industrial firms to come to the village.

"A lot of the businesses along Route 34 were brought here this way. We do this routinely on an industrial and commercial level, so we know who to call to find out about a business," he said.

Jones said finding a developer to take over the former fire station and former village hall on Main Street and the former Alexander Lumber site, also in the village's downtown, could let other developers know that Oswego is serious about keeping up the downtown.

The last item on agenda Jones talked about was residential properties.

"The problem with rooftops is that they bring children that you have to educate. But without the people you're not going to get industrial (development) that you need for growth. So you need to balance them," Jones said.

He noted that two residential projects are currently proposed for the Orchard Road corridor in the village. One is a 923 unit apartment project planned on the west side of Orchard Road, north of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks.

The other is a townhouse project at the northeast corner of Orchard and Mill roads, he said.

One committee member said these two projects could force Lakewood Creek and Fox Chase elementary schools to overflow.

Scaramuzzi said building apartments was the worst thing that could be done to the district and another committee member said apartments would put a burden on all taxing bodies.

The next committee meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday March 4 at the District Administration Center, 4175 Route 71, across from Oswego High School. The meetings are open to the public.

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