Blanding approves SRO, tables park impact fee

by David Boyle
News Director
Blanding City Council approved an agreement to bring a police officer into Blanding schools and tabled a decision to charge parks impact fees at their latest meeting.
Members of the Blanding City Council approved their end of an agreement to bring a resource officer to the schools in Blanding at their June 27 meeting.
The Memorandum of Understanding was approved by the San Juan School Board at their June 20 meeting. Blanding City approached the district with the idea to create a position in the city police department to serve as a school resource officer.
The agreement will have Blanding schools pay $40,000 to have the resource officer in the schools on weekdays throughout the school year.
The outline will have the officer in San Juan High three days a week, at ARL Middle School 1.5 days a week, and in Blanding Elementary one-half day a week.
Blanding schools will be using Utah Teacher Student Success Act Funding to pay for the position, with San Juan High covering the majority of the cost as the officer will be in the school the majority of the week.
Blanding City will be the resource officer employer, the memorandum has a three-year auto-renewal, with either party required to give notice if they need to end the agreement.
Blanding City Police Chief JJ Bradford, who had been a school resource officer in the past, expressed his support of the agreement. Members of the council unanimously approved the agreement.
Members of the Blanding City Council passed on a decision regarding parks and recreation impact fees at their latest meeting.
In May, members of the council adopted a Parks, Recreation Trails and Open Space Master Plan. The approved master plan allows the city to identify its current amenities and create a high-level plan for the future of parks and recreation in the city.
The master plan also paved the way for an impact fee analysis performed by Zion Public Finance, a branch of Zions Bank. That analysis was presented to the council at their June 27 meeting.
City Manager Dave Johnson explained that impact fees cover costs that new development will have on a community.
“Every new home that is built has an impact on our parks, just like every new home that is built has an impact on our water system, our electric system etc,” said Johnson. “So essentially an impact fee is telling you for every new home that is built how much it cost the city in impacts over a lifetime.”
Johnson outlined that while the city charges the full impact fee for water, previously city councils had approved a 50 percent discount on the impact fee for sewer for new homes. Johnson added impact fees help ensure that current residents of Blanding are not subsidizing future residents of the city.
Using inventory provided by the recently completed master plan, Zions Public Finance indicated a maximum one-time impact fee of $6,588 could be charged for a single-family build, with a max of $5,732 for a multi-family unit in 2023. Those figures rise over time to $7,116 and $6,192 in 2041.
Presenting the report is Aaron Sanborn of Zions Public Finance. The report estimates growth of 70 homes in the city over the next 10 years.
Mayor Logan Monson asked if similar communities have Parks impact fees in place. Sanborn responded that while he didn’t have examples of cities in the area or of comparable size, they did report seeing cities adopt this impact fee.
“It’s a very common impact fee to have because a lot of communities value parks, they value open space and want to be able to continue to provide that level of service as they grow, whether that’s growing rapidly or growing slowly.”
While unsure about if it would sway someone from building in Blanding, council member Cheryl Bowers did express concerns about the impact fee.
“It’s already very expensive to build in Blanding and this just adds to that cost. Those are things we factored in when we made decisions about impact fees for our other utilities.”
Monson said he didn’t have a hesitation for parks impact fees, although he didn’t think $6,000 is necessarily right. “We hear all the time we need a new this, we need a new park, I mean we can’t afford it.”
The city could charge anywhere from zero to $6,500, with a wide range of options. The council opted to table the item to explore whether to implement a parks impact fee and if so at what level.
Members of the Blanding City Council also approved budget ammendments to the concluding fiscal year budget and adopted the certified tax rate.
Council also extended contracts and wildfire water use agreements between the city and the Utah Division of Fire, Forestry and State Lands.

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