Local News

Wake Forest Considering Fire Impact Fee

Posted November 16, 2007

— A study shows the town of Wake Forest will need to raise more than $11 million to keep pace with sky-rocketing growth.

Town leaders said they are considering charging new home buyers an extra fee just for moving into Wake Forest.

Wake Forest is a growing town, and it’s growing on Larry Steffann and his wife. They want to move there to be closer to family. Steffann says housing in the area is a bargain compared to where he came from.

“The cost per square foot is anywhere from 40 to 60 percent less than the cost per square foot in south Florida,” he said.

Steffann might have to pack more money than planned though.

As Wake Forest transitions from a rural to urban town, Town Manager Mark Williams said the fire department is struggling to catch up.

“It requires a different level of service, and we are not providing that right now,” he said.

That's why Wake Forest Commissioners have been considering a new fire impact fee. It would cost new home buyers like the Steffan's nearly $600 more when they buy their house. With the money, the town hopes to build four new firehouses and buy four new fire engines over the next 10 years.

Town Commissioner David Camacho said he isn't so sure an impact fee is the answer.

“I think it would probably be better for either doing without something else and finding the money without raising taxes,” he said.

Camacho said he isn’t a big fan of the impact fee, not only because he is a builder by trade. He also questions how fair it is. People inside the town limits would have to pay the impact fee, while people outside the limits would not. But, both would enjoy that added protection.

Steffann said he is not turned off by having to turn over more of his money.

“Everybody has to pay their own fair share, and that is what it comes down to,” he said.

Businesses moving into town would also have to pay the impact fee. Commissioners were expected to discuss the matter at their next meeting on Tuesday.


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  • richard2 Nov 18, 2007

    Fire protection should be payed by "all" who benefit. If you need to raise taxes for fire stations, do it.

  • Nancy Nov 18, 2007

    whatelseisnew - this is a one time fee for NEW development, NEW residents and businesses, now if that isn't the smart way to keep up with NEW demand, I don't know what is.

  • Offshore Nov 18, 2007

    Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr,,,, the town could have levied fees on the building companies to supply $$$ to the town for improved fire protection service. Since they're the ones making fistfuls of dollars then moving on and leaving the town with a bunch of over crowded schools, undersized water and sewer treatment facilities amd the burden of paying for new and improved...stuff.

  • 37 Nov 17, 2007

    From a liability standpoint, is it smart for the town manager to admit the fire department is not delivering the best service? Put it this way, I'm saving this one in case it is needed later.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 17, 2007

    And the good news just keeps rolling in. For anyone out there that would support this, once they crack the door and initially start up a small fee - you know - the old well it is only 50 dollars or 60 dollars the cost of a tank of gas. Do not swallow that nonsense. A politician gets a new source of dollar extraction from your wallets they do only one thing with it, they increase later on. Of course, this will have zero impact on what will continue to be rising property tax rates in the future. So just say no to this tax. Check your property tax bill and see if there is a component on there called Fire District Tax. If there is, tell your local leaders that is where the money needs to come from. Another option they might consider, is to simply ask people to donate money for this fire truck. At least that way, it is a free choice and a one time thing. I used to donate to my fire district until they got on the government dole and I started getting hit with a yearly additional tax on my b

  • Darren Nov 17, 2007

    Oooooooor...the government could just get out of the fire protection business altogether and let the free market do what it does best--provide better services at lower prices. I know...that's dangerous thinking and I should be locked up.