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School Board report on costs of growth; Consultant makes recommendations on comp plan revision

Highlights:

School District report on costs of growth
The school district made a presentation to the commission regarding what new residential development is costing the school district. Superintendent Gordon Woolley introduced the presentation saying that he talks to many developers who are willing to contribute to the school district but want to know that other developers are also contributing in a way that is fair and equitable.  Therefore the school board has compiled a spreadsheet estimating what each additional built lot (or home) costs the school district in terms of new construction.

The school district has projected costs using very conservative numbers.  For example, they have attributed to each additional household only half of the national average of schoolchildren per household.  This is because so many developments claim to be aimed at second homeowners.  Even using what school board member Nola Bredal called “exceedingly conservative numbers” the school district calculates that each new built home costs the district just under $12,000 in new construction. This figure doesn’t reflect other added costs such as teachers’ salaries, equipment and bussing.

The school board said that they hoped that when developers come before Tetonia P&Z and say that their development will not impact the school district, that the P&Z can point the developer to the study done by the school district.  Contributions to the school district will go through the non-profit Teton Valley Education Foundation which is bound legally to put the money into the local public schools.

The P&Z members responded positively to the school board’s report saying that their numbers looked sound.  Commissioner Mitch Smaley noted that the numbers are scary because it is not just the school district feeling the added financial burden but also roads, fire protection and city government.   Commissioner Bob Foster stated that “Residential development does not pay for itself, never has and never will” and that was why a ratio of 60% commercial to 40% residential development was needed.  City Mayor Rex Jardine was present and commented on how schools are hurt by the funding structure set by the state and said that it was important to get sales tax back to funding the schools.

Comprehensive Plan update
Jan Gallup of Planning Concepts made a presentation to the commission of her recommendations after reviewing city documents, including the comprehensive plan, ordinances and city maps.   She made the following recommendations:

  1. Review Comprehensive Plan
  2. Update and develop official city code
  3. Establish city impact area and regulations
  4. Revise maps
  5. Establish official city website

Ms. Gallup estimated that it would take 4-12 months to complete the comp plan revision and gave the following cost estimates:

-Consultant at $20 per hour – $500-$1000 total

-Engineering for build-out study – $800-$1200

-Maps $500-$800

She emphasized the importance of identifying the problems, issues and concerns facing the city and of developing a strong vision statement and statement of community values.

She said that the next steps were for the city to decide whether to hire her as a consultant, commission a build-out study, and decide on a projected completion date.

The P&Z unanimously recommended that the city council hire Jan Gallup to do the work as she proposed.  Gallup is meeting with the Tetonia City Council on the evening of Monday, January 14th. She is on the agenda for 7:20pm.

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