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City of Port Washington, Wisconsin

City of Port Washington Impact Fee FAQs

City of Port Washington Impact Fee FAQs

What is an Impact Fee
Impact fees are paid by newly developed or expanded residential, commercial, and industrial properties to compensate the City for that portion of the capital costs of new public facilities needed to service the growth which those land developments represent.

What were Impact Fees collected for?
During the period 1999-2020, the City of Port Washington collected impact fees on four public facilities: wastewater treatment plant upgrades; a new police station; a fire station addition; and a library addition.

How were the Impact Fee revenues accounted for?
The funds were kept in separate impact fee trust accounts and segregated by public facility project.

What prompted the analysis?
The Impact Fee Program Analysis was prompted because Staff identified some concerns with the procedures being used to calculate and collect impact fees, Staff alignment in understanding the complete process, and since the Program had been in existence since 1999.

Other specific reasons are as follows:

  • Excel worksheet - Difficulty understanding ordinance calculation
  • Inability to fully explain how impact fees are calculated, i.e., how the worksheet functions
  • Questions about accuracy
  • Lack of documentation - Needs Assessment Report, i.e., missing appendices, etc.

What errors were identified in the fee calculation?
After analyzing the ordinance and reviewing the fee calculation Excel worksheet, it was determined there were several errors both in the methodology used and calculations for impact fees. The most common errors were as follows:

  1. Incorrect value for debt service term remaining;
  2. Growth cost per capita is based on incorrect population growth estimate; and
  3. Credit for property taxes paid is not calculated in conformance with ordinance.

Why did the Impact Fee Analysis take nine (9) months to complete?
The Program review took longer than anticipated because Staff was doing its due diligence by taking additional steps to conduct a thorough analysis. For example, (1) the findings were reviewed and verified by a financial advisory firm; (2) all 820 impact fee payments were manually reviewed to ensure the correct payer of the fee was identified. Each of these efforts took a significant amount of time. Another thing that was carefully thought through was a refund process to mitigated liability for the City and ensured the correct individual/business received the refund, i.e., identification verification.

What has been done to ensure this does not happen again?
Internal controls have been established due to this effort. In addition, the City is undertaking a process improvement initiative to continuously review processes for efficiency, effectiveness, controls and to clearly identify each Staff members role within a given process.


City of Port Washington Contact Us

City Administrator
Anthony Brown
100 W. Grand Ave., P.O. Box 307
Port Washington, WI 53074


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