Local News

Wake Forest Considering Fire Impact Fee

Posted November 16, 2007 9:40 p.m. EST

— 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.