Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dixon Looks at Fees Trove

Dixon Looks at Fees Trove
City Will Ponder Use of Millions From Developments
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

How the city of Dixon will spend millions of dollars in development fees from two large residential developments will be the subject of some discussion tonight when the City Council meets.

Recent development agreements between the city and developers Brookfield Homes and Southwest Development include extra fees per home, the money from which will be available for the city to use however it chooses.

Councilman Steve Alexander has requested that the council discuss how the funds will be used since the "city may expend the Enhanced Benefit Contribution for any lawful purpose in the city's sole discretion," according to the development agreement.

"Anytime the city gets windfall above and beyond the normal housing permits and property tax allocation from new developments and sales, these funds should be used for community projects or off-setting future fees and taxes," said Alexander in an e-mail to The Reporter. "I wish the council would consider using these funds to help off-set the future tripling of our sewer rates, or put into a fund account that cannot be used by the General Fund, but for community projects."

Brookfield Homes has proposed to build some 400 homes as well as senior housing on land in southeast Dixon. The development will land for part of a site for a new high school. Southwest Development includes a handful of developers and would include some 908 houses southwest of the city.

One option for how to spend the extra development fees suggested by City Manager Warren Salmons is to place the funds in a reserve account to provide long-term resources for major repair of existing buildings in the city.

"The funds will be coming in over a course of 20 years," Salmons said. "The Council could also consider if they want to leave future fund decisions to the future councils to decide."

Agreements with these types of fees on housing may be new to Dixon, but they are not uncommon in other cities that Brookfield has worked with, according to Pete Peterson, vice president for land acquisition for Brookfield.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber, 600 East A. St. in Dixon.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at dixon@thereporter.com.

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