Hired consultant ($20K ?) Pender's Cost of Service study report explained that part of any rate determination was to consider 'Cost Causation.' Impact fees are designed to do exactly that - recover some of the the cost associated with new development, either commercial or residential.
The current Impact Fee rate collected by HL&P is reportedly 41% of the maximum allowable. A simple raise to 60% would garner $230K, 100% would have yielded $700K. These rates have been in effect since at least 2006, during some of the largest growth period. This could be considered the cause of the current shortfall AND debt incurred,
If the cost of new infrastructure is not collected from the developments which are causing it, the remaining costs must be borne by current ratepayers.
Is that 'fair and equitable'? - another determining factor for rate calculation.
"For (HL&P) infrastructure projects beginning in 2012 through 2015 amounting to $6,959,000, only $3,542,000 is eligible for impact fees. Of this eligible figure only about 41% is being recovered in impact fees. This is the same percent impact fee recovery for new businesses, subdivisions etc."
That means only $1.45M will be collected, increasing to 60% would raise $700K, to 100% = $2Million over 3 year. Why should current rate payers be subsidizing new developments????
A brief Impact Fee overview for the first five months of 2014 can be seen here.