BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors are considering increasing the affordable housing fee back to pre-recession levels. Currently, developers pay 1/5 of 1% of the total value of their building permit. At this week's meeting, City Councilors discussed raising it to 1/3 of 1%. Some councilors believe that would help increase the affordable housing options in Bend.
City Councilor Barb Campbell said at this week's meeting that she thinks it's time to revisit the issue. "I think we would be making the right decision at this point in time to respond to the current change in the economy. I think this is perfectly appropriate, you examine it every few years. It went down because of the bad economy; we should bring it back up now that the economy is coming up."
Councilor Nathan Boddie agreed. "I'm comfortable with those numbers, particularly when we think about that those were the numbers years ago, before the recession. We're not really talking about jacking things up; we're actually talking about restoring them to where they were pre-recession. So, no heartburn here."
But, Councilor Casey Roats said he would rather see more housing development. "I would prefer to see us, as a council, focus on how do we get more units built? - Which would generate more revenue. Versus raising the fee and have fewer. If we were to couple really good annexation policies that brought more in and brought more houses, then we would have more money coming into the affordable housing program."
The City Council agreed to revisit the issue in early December.