GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Building new construction in Gallatin could become more expensive if the state legislature gives the city permission to impose impact fees for new developments during the upcoming session in January.
Tuesday night, the Gallatin city council voted to approve an ordinance to ask state lawmakers for permission to change the city’s charter in order to implement impact fees.
“Growth is inevitable, but what is happening right now is we are growing too fast and too much,” said District 3 Councilman Pascal Jouvence, who drafted the ordinance.
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There are 8,076 units under construction in Gallatin with thousands more projects in the pipeline, according to Jouvence, which is putting a strain on city services, including the roads, the fire department, and the police department.
Jouvence told News 2, if the development continues at its current pace, city services will struggle to keep up unless impact fees are imposed to supplement the growth.
“The way I see it is that money coming in frees us on the general fund to be able to take care of our employees and give them raises and make sure they are happy and make sure they can afford to live in our city, where right now the majority of them can’t,” Jouvence said.
If the city charged a less than $750 impact fee per unit currently being built, it would generate an additional $6 million, Jouvence calculated.
However, one developer told city council members they would pass impact fees onto the buyers which could hurt locals in the end.
“I worry about what’s the point that somebody who is serving the community, a policeman, fireman, nurse, teacher, I worry there’s a point where they just can’t afford a home?” Bob Goodall with Goodall Homes said.
Goodall suggested a more universal fee for buyers of both old and new homes.
But Jouvence said the people who already live in Gallatin shouldn’t have to pay the price for growth they didn’t choose.
“No one likes to have more fees on what they already pay, but the way I see it is the people coming to our city now should participate in the growth [fee],” Jouvence said. “That should not be a burden on the people who are already here, because they didn’t ask for that.”
Jouvence said a state legislator has agreed to sponsor the bill. It is expected to be presented during the next legislative session in January.