FLORENCE — Pinal County’s impact fees — charges assessed on new construction to help growth pay for itself — are set to decrease in 2021.

During a Board of Supervisors meeting last week, Supervisor Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, asked if charging more to other types of construction, like commercial and industrial, reduced the burden on residential.

Ben Griffin, a senior analyst with financial planner Tischler Bise, said the parks fee is part of the answer because nonresidential development wasn’t previously paying this fee. Pinal County charges impact fees for streets, public safety and parks and open space. But the change is mostly due to streets, Griffin said.

Pinal County Manager Louis Andersen elaborated, “A lot of it has to do with tightening up the street costs and amount of growth attributed to streets,” in keeping with the most recent state law. “So we really tightened up our street lane-miles and our street costs, and revised that, which caused most all of the overall fees, commercial, residential and industrial, to reduce.”

The proposed impact fee on a single-family home in the south-central part of the county will be $2,405. The current fee on a home between 1,501 and 2,100 square feet is $3,469. In the north-central part of the county, the fee will be $3,896, down from $8,666.

Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said, “Overall I’m pleased to see the decrease in some of these fees,” and he questioned why commercial construction must pay. “I’ve always felt like commercial generates revenue for us with sales tax, jobs, payroll tax.” He said impact fees are hard for a homebuilder to explain to a customer. “You’re not getting a granite countertop.”

Miller said a $16 parks and recreation fee on hotel rooms also seems odd. He said hotels serve “a transient population with a very small burden on our facilities and services.” This is not a recurring tax on the room, but a one-time fee on construction.

“I think our hope in Pinal County is that we’ll develop our tourism to the point that we’re making quite a bit of money and it becomes part of our economic development picture,” and there’s a growing demand for hotels, Supervisors Chairman Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, said.

The board will hold a public hearing June 3 on the land use assumptions and infrastructure improvement plan behind the fees before voting whether to adopt those documents on July 15. The board will hold a public hearing on its new development fees on Aug. 26 and vote on them on Sept. 30. The new fees are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 29.

The supervisors also heard a presentation on the county’s 2020 Five-Year Transportation Improvement and Maintenance Program, which they’ll be asked to approve on May 27.

The public may read the plan and submit project requests at pinalcountyaz.gov/PublicWorks. Under Menu on the left side of the page, select Transportation Improvement & Maintenance Program.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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