Dr. Nick Bergfeld Talks Updated Disparity Report and Impact Fees
EDITOR'S NOTE: The figures cited in the third paragraph of this story were initially incorrect. They were corrected in an update that hit our website at 12:10pm on October 26, 2020.
Monday on KFYO Mornings with Dave King and Matt Martin, Dr. Nicholas Bergfeld of Lubbock Compact joined Dave King and guest host Steve Evans to talk about his updated disparity report, impact fees, LEDA, and more.
The first thing that Dr. Bergfeld was asked about was what impact fees are and what do they mean to the citizens of Lubbock. Bergfeld explained that impact fees have existed for several decades in Texas, and that they were, "a realization of the fact that growth does not pay for growth," meaning that existing areas are losing property value with age and the cost of maintaining their roadways becomes prohibitive. Impact fees allow cities to shift some of the cost for building roads to new subdivisions onto the developers, and overall are there to try and save the taxpayers some money.
Bergfeld gave an example that last year the City of Lubbock tried to estimate how much taxpayer money could have been saved if the city had an impact fee structure. He said, it was determined that about $15 million could have been saved in roadway costs, with $5 million coming from new south Lubbock streets and roadways alone.
Dr. Bergfeld's group has been advocating for, and focusing on, impact fees since this last summer, and are really trying to bring awareness to citizens. Bergfeld said, "We need accountability. We need citizen watchdog activity to make sure that things are being done in all of our best interest, and not just simply for a handful of a very small number of special interest groups that are simply just making a profit off of the Lubbock taxpayer."
Nick was asked what is the difference between the updated disparity report compared to the first one, to which he explained that this new version is much more cleaned up, as the first was made quickly and during a time where there was a lot of uncertainty in the city due to the virus. Bergfeld wanted to show that COVID is not the only problem that we are dealing with economically here in Lubbock, and is concerned that,
We are running away from what made our city great, and at the same time, we are sacrificing the future.
Bergfeld went on to say that the new report also talks about issues of homelessness, such as the history of homelessness and how to end chronic homelessness in Lubbock forever, substance use, and the challenges of being a religious minority within our community.