BOISE — During Tuesday’s hearing on the use of forgone taxes, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo promised the audience the county is doing everything it can to keep up with growth.

To do that, the county needs to start collecting impact fees from developers, something it has never done before, she said.

Impact fees are funds paid to a taxing district by developers to mitigate costs of development. According to Idaho Code, those funds can be spent only on capital projects that are the result of development and growth.

A number of Treasure Valley entities collect impact fees already. The Ada County Highway District, the city of Boise and a number of other taxing districts collect the fees to help mitigate the costs of development and growth.

The use of impact fees has been growing in the past couple of years all across the Treasure Valley. Meridian City Council members last month approved changes to its impact fees structure with the goal of raising revenue. The city of Caldwell is looking to increase its impact fees after years of not evaluating its rates. Nampa dramatically increased its impact fees this year, in some cases tripling fees. Kuna in recent months has added impact fees for the Fire Department and is considering adding impact fees for police services.

Ada County has set aside $16,000 in its proposed budget to hire a consultant who would work with the county to establish and collect impact fees. The county has not put that out to bid yet.

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“We have to go through the formal procurement process to select a consultant first,” Elizabeth Duncan, Ada County public information officer, wrote in an email.

Duncan said no commissioners were available for comment Thursday.

The county is conducting research on impact fee collection and will work with other entities in the Treasure Valley to inform the county’s process, Duncan wrote.

“The County is meeting with the cities to promote greater governmental responsibility responsiveness to our communities, as we distribute shared resources,” she wrote.

Duncan said it is unclear why the county has not collected impact fees before.

If all goes according to plan, the fees would be implemented and assessed to developers as soon as possible, Duncan wrote.

Xavier Ward covers Ada County for The Idaho Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @XavierAWard.

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