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Intern compares SDCs

Findings presented to city

by: Photo by Holly M. Gill - Garrett Phillips


   Garrett Phillips, an intern hired through Portland State University's master's internship program, has been researching Madras' system development charges and how they compare to other cities in Central Oregon.
   The findings were presented to the Madras City Council during the Sept. 11 council meeting. The jurisdictions of Prineville, Redmond and Bend were compared to Madras.
   Phillips found that Madras' SDCs are comparable to those in neighboring jurisdictions.
   Many cities have reduced SDCs in the wake of the recession. Madras provided SDC reductions for all types of development in the entire city.
   In 2010, the Madras City Council reduced all SDCs by 20 percent, and the council placed a three-year moratorium on increasing SDCs to keep pace with inflation (i.e. increasing construction costs).
   This effectively lowered the SDCs over time. The city also offers a deferred payment program, and a financing program, depending on each development's circumstances to reduce the financial burden of SDCs to developers and property owners.
   The city's base SDC rates (including transportation, water, wastewater, stormwater, and park rates) are comparable to neighboring cities with further explanation below.
   Other findings include:
   1) Overall, Madras' SDCs are moderate compared with neighboring communities.
   2) SDCs for residential development are lower in Madras than in Redmond, Bend, and Prineville.
   3) SDCs for commercial and industrial development are in a similar range to the comparison cities.
   Staff informed the City Council that additional analysis of the findings is necessary as some cities adopted special rates and one city adopted a special discount for certain types of jobs created.
   Recommendations for any SDC ordinance amendments will be brought back at a later date for the council's consideration.
   What is an SDC?
   

   System development charges are one-time payments to the city for developments that increase demands on city infrastructure provided by the city, including streets, parks, and water, wastewater and stormwater systems.
   SDCs allow the city to make annual debt payments that the city has incurred to construct needed infrastructure enabling the city to proactively anticipate and accommodate growth.
   SDC rates and calculation methods are carefully established to ensure:
   . The city achieves goals defined in adopted comprehensive plan, capital improvement plans, and master plans.
   . Equitable distribution of infrastructure costs to existing infrastructure system users and new system users
   . Provision of infrastructure that serves the City's needs cost effectively.
   Phillips, a researcher and intern from Portland State University, is a recent graduate of Portland State University's Master of Urban and Regional Planning School.
   In addition to research on system development charges, he has worked on the city's Public Improvement Design and Construction Standards update, and a variety of other projects to assist to the Public Works Department.
   "It has been pleasure working with such a great team at the Public Works Department," he said.