Fallout from the recently settled lawsuit between three south Utah County cities and Strawberry Electric Service District will vary from city to city.
Spanish Fork could end up refunding up to $200,000 in electric impact fees, while Salem will pay back $87,500 in electric bonds. Payson, on the other hand, won't be making refunds, because it didn't charge the fee.Spanish Fork officials haven't decided whether the refund will go to the developer or homeowner, but Salem will write checks in both the developers' and homeowners' names. Both signatures will be required to cash the checks.
"They will have to decide who gets the money," said Mayor Randy Brailsford. "We're not going to referee."
The checks will include the electric bond or impact fee of $1,108.50, plus interest, less $30 for legal, administrative and consultant costs. Interest ranges from about $1.75 to $220, Brailsford said.
Spanish Fork and Salem have been collecting the fees since 1994 when the cities, including Payson, became embroiled in a dispute with Strawberry Electric over who had the right to provide electric service for new homes in annexed areas.
"Anybody who received a building permit since 1994 in the affected areas" could potentially receive a refund if the Spanish Fork City Council rules that way, said Dave Oyler, city manager for Spanish Fork. Those areas consist of Spanish Fork's east bench, the west side and the Leland area.
The potential refunds are tied to an impact fee of $1,108.50 the two cities charged developers for each house they built in newly annexed areas. The money was held in escrow until the lawsuit was resolved. But the Utah Supreme Court later voided the fee. When the cities settled the final phases of the suit out of court, it was determined the electric service company wouldn't get that money.
Builder Rick Salisbury recently asked Spanish Fork officials to return the impact fees he paid, but the City Council instead asked the finance committee to sort out whether the builder or homebuyer should get the money. Council members Clyde Swenson and Sherman Huff, city finance officer Kent Clark, City Attorney Junior Baker and Oyler make up that committee.