Sarpy County is weighing a proposal to add a fee to building permits that would be spent on road projects.
The street program would use the funds on improvements in the county's zoning jurisdiction, Deputy County Administrator Scott Bovick told the County Board Tuesday.
If a Sarpy city agreed to join the program, money collected by the city also would be used to improve streets in that city's area.
Expected to bring in roughly $500,000 per year, the program would help the county keep up with growth, Bovick said. Between 2000 and 2010, Sarpy County added more than 21,000 residents outside city limits.
“Obviously that has an impact on infrastructure,” Bovick said.
Homebuilders would pay less than 1 percent of their building permit value on all new residential construction, including single family houses, town homes and duplexes. A $240,000 house might generate about $2,600 in building permit fees and $1,800 in street fees.
The program also would charge $1,000 per unit for mobile homes, $5,000 per development acre for multifamily projects, $5,000 per acre for retail commercial projects and $1,000 per acre for other commercial and industrial projects.
The fees would be charged when a building permit is issued.
Board member Don Kelly said the program would be good for the county.
“By making development outside of the city limits a little more costly, hopefully developers will push for developments inside the cities so we can have a little bit more controlled growth, a little bit more structured growth and much better planned growth,” he said.
The idea is modeled after a program adopted by the City of Omaha and Douglas County several years ago.
While that program was earmarked for specific projects along 156th Street and Q Street, Sarpy's program would go toward on projects in the county's one and six-year street plans. County Engineer Denny Wilson would work with interested parties to prioritize.
Prioritizing projects will be the most difficult part because there's more demand for road work than money to pay for it, said board member Tom Richards, noting he would want the money distributed equally.
“You're going to have more requests for projects than you're going to have money,” he said. “There has to be some kind of balance.”
Bovick plans to notify stakeholders, including developers, about the proposal and bring it back to the board early next month.
He said he hopes to start assessing the fee 30 days after adoption. Then, Wilson will start developing a preliminary list of projects, and the county will work with Sarpy cities to bring them on board.