Snoqualmie school board wants impact fee, ponders growth moratorium

With Snoqualmie Valley School District pondering how to pay for new construction in its 2011 capital facilities plan, the district’s board of directors is wondering why one Valley city is paying less for growth impacts to schools.

One board member urged a building moratorium in Snoqualmie during talks Thursday, May 12, on the district’s new capital facilities plan, which includes a new middle school, new elementary school, and portable classrooms at all district middle schools. Conversation at the meeting quickly moved from a discussion of the 2011 proposed impact fee to the city of Snoqualmie’s refusal to adopt the 2010 fee.

Director of Business Services Ryan Stokes said he’d talked with city representatives many times; their concerns are that the fee, triple the amount of the previous year, might stifle growth.

Fearing a blight on new construction, Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson directed staff to delay consideration of the fee, making it contingent on bond passage. The district is still receiving the 2009 fee in Snoqualmie.

Former school board member Rick Krona urged the board to send a letter to Snoqualmie City Council members, requesting a formal explanation for their refusal. Current board member Scott Hodgins went one step further.

“It’s an obligation to the city of Snoqualmie, who’s actually creating the growth, to start doing what they’re allowed to do for us,” he said. “I think the school board needs to put our foot down and say ‘hey, you either start paying impact fees, or put a moratorium on building until we have space to put kids.’”

The board gave informal approval to Superintendent Joel Aune to draft a letter to the city on the issue.

This year’s school impact fee is proposed at $8,504 for each single-family home, and $2,743 for each multi-family housing unit.

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