By a vote of 5-1 at its Nov. 19 meeting, the Pierce County Council passed a proposal adjusting the one-time impact fee from a builder when new homes or apartments are constructed in unincorporated Pierce County.

The fee is meant to assure that new developments pay a greater share of the cost of new park facilities necessary to meet the demands of new residents for public parks, open space and trail facilities in the county.

“The proposal would adjust the park impact fee for inflation,” explained Hugh Taylor, senior legislative analyst. “This is the annual adjustment that’s required by Pierce County Code.”

The annual adjustment to the fee is based on the average of the Building Cost Index and the Construction Cost Index published by the Engineering News Record and translates into an increase of $115 (4.8 percent) for 2020. A fiscal note attached to the proposal indicates the county can expect to collect an additional $100,000 next year from the increased fee, according to Taylor.

The lone no vote came from councilmember Pam Roach, who said she generally opposes impact fees because the taxes people pay on housing are not cheap.

“I don’t see any reason to have to up an impact fee,” she said. “I think people are paying enough money right now.”

Roach decried the increased park impact fee as a tax on a new dwelling.

At a special Nov. 18 meeting, the Pierce County Council passed by a vote of 7-0 the $2.4 billion 2020-2021 biennial budget. Focusing on public safety, human services, parks, economic development and community services, the budget is the result of considerable review, analysis and debate. The budget takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, pending the signature of Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.

In 2018, voters approved a charter amendment moving the county to a biennial budget cycle.

For more information on the budget, go to piercecountywa.gov/biennialbudget.