The price of new home construction could be going up. That’s because of a push to require local builders to put more money to the city’s utility trust fund.
The fund is basically a public-private partnership made up of four funds, and reimburses builders for utility work in new developments. Home builders started the fund in the 1980’s, and asked the city to manage it.
Based on the numbers of homes being built on the city’s Southside, it’s no surprise the utility trust fund sports a healthy balance.
“Currently there’s a little over $8 million as of March 30th in the trust fund,” said Nina Nixon-Mendez, Development Director for the City of Corpus Christi.
The city only manages the fund, but can’t spend it; only builders can. So why does the city want builders to give more?
“We have not had any increases to the fund in the last 10 years,” said Nixon-Mendez.
Right now builders pay $1,571 an acre, or $393 dollars per lot for wastewater; plus $719 an acre, or $182 per lot for water. That hasn’t changed since 2009, so to make up for lost time, the city wanted to increase those fees by 38%
“What it would do, point blank, is raise the price of homes because it raises the price of the lots,” said Bart Braselton of Braselton Homes..
Even though there are already millions of dollars already in the fund, home builders say they don’t have a problem kicking in a higher percentage. They just want increases to be gradual to help keep home prices down.
The Coastal Bend Home Builders Association wants a 10% percent increase now with annual increases based on construction costs.
“The fund is solvent and has worked exactly as it was designed,” said Braselton. “There has been enough money in there over the years each time you have major growth in the city.”
The city is considering the CBHBA’s plan, as well as a third option that would delay septic system reimbursements for ten years. The city council hasn’t indicated yet when it will revisit this issue.