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9:34 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Annexation fee also gets negative reviews from Prescott City Council members

PRESCOTT – A proposed new fee that could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of major annexations got a negative review from some Prescott City Council members this week.

City Attorney John Moffitt proposed the fee Tuesday, noting that city officials spend "literally thousands of hours" of their time on major annexations. The fee would help the city recoup some of its costs.

Moffitt suggested that for annexations that exceed 250 acres, the city charge a two-tiered fee that would amount to $1,500 per acre of the land that the city is considering for annexation. Annexations that involved less than 250 acres would not require the same amount of staff time, Moffitt said, and would not warrant the fees.

But two council members voiced strong opposition to the proposal.

"To be real candid, I have a real problem with it," said Councilman Jim Lamerson. He pointed out that the city already charges impact fees and has a number of other requirements for developers on issues such as open space. "We do all kinds of things that dissuade people from doing certain things," Lamerson said. Adding an annexation fee on top of that would be "more regressive than progressive," he said.

Councilman Bob Bell also had problems with the proposed fee, maintaining that it would encourage developers to keep their annexations under 250 acres, or would cause them to go to Prescott Valley or Chino Valley instead.

But Moffitt pointed out that the "flip side" was that the annexation fee would require development to pay for itself.

Tuesday's meeting was a study session only, and the council took no vote on the matter. It likely will be back on the agenda for next week's voting session.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com