City of Snoqualmie: Be fair and align school impact fees.
This petition had 138 supporters
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Overcrowding in Snoqualmie schools is a topic of concern. If you have three (3) valley locals in a room, you will have three (3) different opinions on how to solve it. Yet, they all probably agree that any solution will take money. Most will also agree, the less passed on in taxes to existing residents, the better.
Did you know that there is a way to raise money for schools without creating new taxes? Were you also aware that the City of Snoqualmie is not taking advantage of this system, like our neighboring communities? In fact; King County (Fall City), North Bend, and Sammamish are each raising the full potential of funds for our schools through fees paid by developers.
Impact fees are a way that the state has provided for communities to grow and plan for their infrastructure. A fee is assessed to developers when a new residence is built. This fee is determined by a formula set by the state and audited by King County. It is meant to help with the impact of rapid population growth.
School impact fees are a way that enrollment increases can be accomodated, little by little. They pay for the growing pains in schools while waiting for new buildings to be needed and then built. Since schools cannot assess fees nor taxes on their own; local communities such as cities and counties approve and collect the fees on behalf of the school district. If a jurisdiction decides not to assess the impact fees for the school district, the school district cannot execute essential responsibilities.
King County (Fall City), City of Sammamish, and City of North Bend have each stood by the kids coming through our school system by approving and collecting the full requested fees, as they do every year. Out of what appears to be a fear of stifling new home sales, the City of Snoqualmie did not approve the current impact fees and has not been collecting the full amount possible for our school district since January 1, 2011. Had Snoqualmie passed identical fees, Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) would have been eligible for roughly $620,000 so far this year. Every month that the City continues to not collect the full amount, our school district loses more money.
Once collected, this money is placed in an account. These monies must be used within ten (10) years by the district. How they are used is determined by facilities plans, which are created by each administration or board which is formed over that period of time. If fees are not collected now, future options will be limited.
Impact fees cannot entirely pay for new school buildings (bonds pay for new buildings), but they do temporarily fund the absorption of growing enrollments until permanent solutions are financed. For instance, they can move or buy portables. Lost impact fees means fewer classrooms available to our children and therefore larger class sizes. Logistics can and do influence teaching and learning. Limiting the collection of impact fees is unfair to our kids, the teachers, and our community.
Snoqualmie City Council: Show the same commitment to schools as you do developers. Be fair to the entire Snoqualmie Valley. Approve the full requested school impact fee and support our school district - which is rated in the top 10% in the state.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Sign this petition. Your name and contact information ensure that each person who signs is a unique individual. The Petition Letter (see tab) and signatures will be delivered to the city before their October 24th meeting.
2. Share this petition with others. There is strength in numbers. Without many voices, Snoqualmie City Council might feel that there is silent consent for this policy.
3. Educate yourself. Read the section: Petition Activity which describes impact fee policies and click on the blue links to read local newspaper articles documenting this for the past year.
Today: Snoqualmie is counting on you
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