Skala Plans to Advocate Fee Plan after Returning to Council

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COLUMBIA - Karl Skala's return to city council raised controversy over a development fee plan.

Skala proposed the Trip Generation Model, which would change how the city collects the development fee, to collect more money for the city's infrastructure. The approach calls for the city to assess development fees not only on the size of the development, but also on the impact of that development on the roads. The more traffic the development will generate, the higher the development fee it would pay.

Skala said there have been some misinterpretations of the plan. His opponent in last week's election, former city council member Gary Kespohl, said Skala's plan set the fee too high, and it could close Columbia.

"It is up to the community and the council to decide the rate of the fee. I am just interested in changing the model getting away from just geographically size-based to both a size based fee and a use based fee," Skala said.

The city council currently has split ideas over the approach. Skala said he would convince the council members who currently do not like the plan.

Skala said he has been contacting the Chamber of Commerce and other developers who are interested in the approach. He said he would explain it to the public, and clear up these misinterpretations.

Matt McCormick, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said before the election that the chamber would take a look at the plan. It wants to find out the best way to benefit the business community and make transportation an easy process for people.

Gary Kespohl said in his concession speech that he was afraid for Columbia because of this plan and it could drive development out of the city.

Skala aims to convince the public by 2015 that the Trip Generation Model is the right approach, when the city needs to vote on the capital improvement budget.