GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- On Wednesday the Grand Junction City Council will vote on a proposal which could increase traffic capacity payment (TCP) fees for new businesses. These funds pay for the wear and tear on roads due to new buildings and the traffic they create.
The city says a lot of those fees go toward traffic safety improvements, like the turn lanes added at Patterson and First Street and Patterson and 7th Street, in addition to the 29 Road overpass. Even though these improvements are necessary, some in the community are saying now is not the right time for a fee hike.
It's taken some time, but commercial construction is starting to bud again.
"We're just starting to see the green shoots," commercial real estate broker Mike Foster said. "We re seeing some bigger projects come forward."
But some are fearful this construction could come to a halt should the city council vote to increase its transportation capacity payment fees for new businesses.
"The needs for the transportation system tied to new development are out-striping the resources,” deputy city manager Tim Moore said.
Right now, taxpayers account for 75 percent of TCP fees and businesses contribute the other 25 percent.
"The proposal would be to raise it from 25 to 37 percent," Moore said of the increase.
That hike would be over three years, but those fees depend on how much traffic a business generates, meaning some could see their fees explode.
"For a fast food restaurant it goes from $7,000 per 1,000 square feet to over $11,000 per 1,000 square feet," Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce president Diane Schwenke said.
Foster says fewer new buildings or expansion projects could negatively impact new job growth, including axing construction jobs and preventing new or expanded businesses from hiring full time employees.
“If a commercial building owner or business expands, then you have the permanent jobs that also come with that expansion," he said.
Chamber officials say the fee hike could persuade some new businesses to build outside of the city where the wear and tear road fees are less.
"What you could end up doing is driving sales tax revenue outside of the city limits," Schwenke said.
The city says finding balance with this issue is crucial, but others say if Grand Junction is looking to grow, higher fees will only push new businesses away.
The city will also look at reducing the TCP fees near the center of town to encourage more growth, and eliminating it completely for the re-use of existing buildings which currently sit vacant.
The Chamber is encouraging all business owners to attend Wednesday’s city council meeting at 7 p.m. We'll be there and bring you the results tonight on KKCO 11 News at 10.
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