City Council approves new impact fee rates

Amounts based on updated growth projections over the next 10 years

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Infrastructure improvements in Waxahachie have been offset in new developments by impact fees, which help the city keep up with growth. The Waxahachie City Council Monday night approved a new impact fee schedule for roadways, water and wastewater improvements, based on growth projections over the next 10 years.

A change to the city’s impact fee structure starting in 2021 was approved during a Monday night meeting of the Waxahachie City Council that also provided a glimpse of the tremendous growth headed the city’s way in the next decade and beyond.

Following a public hearing, councilmembers OK’d an ordinance updating the city’s land use assumptions and capital improvement plans for roads, water and wastewater, and approved a new impact fee structure for each.

During the public hearing, Edmund Haas of Freese & Nichols, the firm that handled the roadway study, said the impact fee program has to be updated every five years under Chapter 395 of the Local Government Code of the state of Texas.  

Impact fees are one-time charges to new development for cost of impact to city infrastructure — roads, water and wastewater facilities. Impact fees can be used to pay for improvements that are necessitated by new development. Waxahachie has had an impact fee program in place since 2001 for water and wastewater, and since 2007 for roadways.

Land use assumptions are 10-year growth projections in the areas of roads, water and wastewater. In the study, Waxahachie is projected to have a 2030 population of 55,326. Haas said a 3.5-percent annual growth rate is projected for Waxahachie over the next decade.

In the area of roadways, the city was divided into seven service areas and the number of new housing units to be built for the next 10 years was estimated in each. A figure, called a service unit, was totaled up for each of the seven service areas. Across these service areas, the maximum fee per service unit ranged from $923 to $1,463, based on projected growth.

Derek Chaney, with Birkhoff, Hendricks & Carter LLP, went over the water and wastewater portions of the capital improvement plan. The calculated maximum water impact fee is $3,274. 61 per living unit equivalent, and the maximum wastewater impact fee is $3,780.97. These fees will help offset the cost to the city of adding water and wastewater capacity.

At total buildout, which is many decades in the future, the population to be served by city water is estimated to be roughly 130,000, with many areas surrounding the city already on different rural water systems, Chaney said. However, the area served by city wastewater — which extends all the way out to the edge of the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ — has an estimated buildout population of about 409,000.

Mayor David Hill, City Manager Michael Scott and Assistant City Manager Tommy Ludwig all thanked staff for their hard work on the new impact fee structure.

In other items, the council approved the consent agenda, consisting of previous minutes, mobile home and taxicab license renewals for 2021, a change order to a contract with Reynolds Asphalt and Construction to add two additional sites to the contract, a budget adjustment from the Waxahachie Police Department, and the receipt of the fiscal year 2020 fourth-quarter financial report.

Following an executive session, the council authorized the purchase of approximately 0.32 acres of Ellis County property for an amount not to exceed $45.000 plus closing costs.

Mayor Hill, Mayor Pro Tem Mary Lou Shipley, and councilmembers Chuck Beatty and Melissa Olson were present for Monday night’s meeting. Councilmember Doug Barnes was absent.