At the November 2015 GHBA Government Affairs Committee meeting, the City of Houston Planning and Development Department (P&D) introduced a proposal to create a special revenue fund (SRF) to collect development fees, along with a new development fee schedule which included increased fees and previously established fees that were not being assessed. Mayor Parker’s intention was to pass the applicable ordinances to affect these changes before the end of the year and her term. While the timeline was compressed, the GHBA was able to work with the Planning & Development Department and other development stakeholders to address major concerns over the initial proposal including reducing some fee increases, making recommendations for staffing and technology improvements and establishing service standards benchmarks. Originally proposed to take effect on January 1, the GHBA was successful in working with the Houston City Council, P&D and other stakeholders to delay the implementation until March 1.
With the City of Houston expecting a substantial budget shortfall, the creation of SRF was an effort to secure and protect development revenues for development-related services performed by the P&D. Once implemented, development-related fees will be dedicated to the SRF, rather than the General Fund. In turn, the SRF will pay for P&D’s development services. This structure ensures that as development activity fluctuates with the market, fee revenue commensurate with this activity will be available for development services.
In conjunction with the creation of the SRF, the P&D proposed establishing 20 user fees for site plan, subdivision plat, development and related services provided by P&D and modifying 27 existing user fees. These fee adjustments were the result of a comprehensive review done to determine whether current fee levels were covering the City’s cost of service. Currently, annual revenue generated by the existing fee structure does not cover expenditures. As a result, the General Fund provides an annual subsidy to fund development-related services provided by P&D.
With the creation of the SRF and fee realignment, the P&D anticipates increasing development-related staffing levels over previous budget levels, including additional plan reviewers, increasing quality of reviews and improvements to technology and supplies.
Additional information regarding fee adjustments can be found below:
- Fee modifications [DOWNLOAD]
- Service level standards [DOWNLOAD]
- Fee assessment [DOWNLOAD]
- Fee impact on example projects [DOWNLOAD]
Questions? Email Bradley Pepper or call (281) 664-1430.
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