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City ups park SDCs for first time

Charges for new home construction increase from $400 to $1,700

by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - Councilman Bob Sjolund and daughters Taylor, left, and Brianne, await cake as Brenda Black and city councilors (not pictured) recognized Sjolund's four years on the Madras City Council. Dec. 14 was Sjolund's last meeting.


   For the first time since systems development charges (SDCs) were first adopted locally in the mid-1990s, the Madras City Council has agreed to a dramatic increase for the parks SDC.
   The increase will help pay for new improvements to the city's park system.
   On Dec. 14, the council accepted an increase from $400 per single family home to $1,700 for each new home as recommended by the Madras Public Works and Parks Commission.
   "The commission felt that the $1,700 per single family home would be a reasonable rate and fall in line with what other cities are currently charging," noted Mike Morgan, city adminstrator.
   "A system development charge is designed to assess a share of cost related to the impact of new development on a community," Morgan said.
   As an example, Morgan explained that over the next five years, the city is expecting that there will be 924 new homes built, with 2,125 people.
   "So if we bring in new homes, the principle behind it is that those 924 will be impacting the community, and those new homes need to pay their share of new impact costs," Morgan said. Existing homes do not pay SDCs.
   The Madras parks master plan includes an expansion of Sahalee Park; a new Willow Creek Trail connection; and a downtown pocket park, all of which can be funded by SDCs.
   SDCs cannot be used for replacement, operations, or maintenance.
Flood mitigation
   
The council unanimously passed a resolution adopting the Madras Flood Mitigation Plan.
   By adopting the plan, previously discussed at an open house Nov. 17, the city will be eligible for discounts on federal flood insurance premiums ranging from 5 to 45 percent.
   The plan, developed by the Walker Macy landscape architecture firm of Portland, lays out short-, and long-term action items.
   Short-term items include: formalizing a flood mitigation oversight committee; reducing federal flood insurance premiums; developing a flood plain/floodway management strategy; identifying and assisting residential properties at risk of flooding; cleaning out Willow Creek's channel; developing a public education program; and improving the city's flood mapping information.
   Long-term goals include: developing a city emergency response system; restoring riparian areas and wetlands; and strengthening land-use planning and zoning.