Councilman responds to realtors who object to change in electric fees

6 days 6 hours 55 minutes ago Thursday, December 07 2017 Dec 7, 2017 Thursday, December 07, 2017 3:08:00 PM CST December 07, 2017 in News
By: Maia McDonald, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA -  The Columbia Board of Realtors is voicing opposition to a proposal that would shift the cost of electric connection fees from current homeowners to the developers of new housing.

CEO Brian Toohey said in a statement, "The Board of Realtors fear additional fees passed on a homebuyer will further increase the home affordability issue facing homebuyers wanting to live within the City."

Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas spearheaded the proposal. It would add $182 to the cost of a building permit.

He says the fee in place now, which is paid as part of electric bills, means current residents shoulder the costs of expanding Columbia's electrical infrastructure for new developments and subdivisions.

"It may cost two or three thousand dollars per house to expand our electrical system to accommodate that new house and we're not collecting any of that," Thomas said. "That means that current rate payers are burdened with that cost."

Toohey's statement comes after Columbia Board of Realtors President Jim Meyer sent a letter to members of the Columbia city council, expressing the board's opposition to the fee change.

"Mr. Meyer and the Board of Directors' opposition to the electric connection fee stems from a deficiency of affordable housing in the City of Columbia," he said. "According to Mr. Meyer, 'affordable housing available to homebuyers in Columbia has been in short supply the last five years, especially for first time homebuyers."

Thomas said developers need to help pay for the city's expansion.

"Columbia is a rapidly growing community," he said. "Our population has about doubled in the last 30, 35 years and so that's created tremendous public costs in terms of expanding our public infrastructure systems, such as our sewer system, our sewer treatment plant, our water purification plant, our electrical infrastructure system."

Thomas analyzed the costs the city spent to expand the electrical infrastructure system from 2004 to 2014. He found the city spent around $20 milion.

"That cost, about $50 per household per year, represents a subsidy being paid by current residents of Columbia, many of whom are low-income, to new development," Thomas said. "More recent data provided by City staff suggests the subsidy is currently about $140 per household per year, or $12 per month."

Thomas said he knows why the board doesn't want the change in who pays the electric connection fee.

"The development industry doesn't want it to happen because they'd prefer to keep the costs of building as low as they can so that they can then sell those new houses as cheaply as possible," Thomas said.

He said the idea the fee would affect affordable housing is unfounded.

"In the letter from the Board of Realtors, they talk about the impact that increased connection fees would have on affordable housing," Thomas said. "The truth is that none of the housing that's being built in Columbia is affordable anyway and what is happening by not having a connection fee is that a lot of poor people in Columbia are paying more than they should have to in their electric bills." 

If the fee change is approved, Thomas said, it would be gradually implemented over several years. 

More News

Grid
List
AUDRAIN COUNTY - The man who was found on Audrain Road 913 Tuesday next to a crashed car died of... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:32:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - Missouri law enforcement is impeded by a number of issues in cases involving child sexual abuse. Alleged... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:20:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the ninth and final public hearing by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality is fast approaching. The vote to remove regulations that... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Justice Reinvestment Task Force approved all of the recommendations from the Council of State Governments Justice... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - As Columbia Regional Airport plans to expand, it got a push from Mayor Brian Treece. Treece called... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:37:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri is among the worst states nationwide at preventing its young people from smoking and using tobacco, according... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:15:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri American Water is making changes to the aging Jefferson City Treatment Plant with the goal of... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:33:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Update: Police said the investigation into the Monday Old Hawthorne homicide revealed a home invasion and drug use. Investigators... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:32:19 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Many people accused of crimes are languishing in county jails as the Missouri State Public Defender System... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:06:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
The Geminid meteor shower begins Wednesday night and viewing conditions may be the best in several years! This annual... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:47:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY- A fire burned down a home and a truck on Wednesday while the owner was away in Moberly... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:45:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — A city official in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff faces criminal charges for... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:07:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Authorities have given the all clear after investigating a possible explosive device around the Hearnes Center shuttle bus... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Missouri man with making threatening phone calls to... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:11:24 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
KLIEVER - Deputies discovered stolen property in the woods near Kliever, Missouri. Police said they were alerted to the... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Jefferson City - While the Republican Congress in Washington is working on a plan to overhaul the country's tax system,... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:18:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri hit a major fundraising milestone, announcing Wednesday it reached the $1 billion mark. ... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:08:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 43°
10pm 40°
11pm 37°
12am 35°
1am 33°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:00p
Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
Seinfeld
10:30p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Dynasty
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld