Ten years ago, families were building more than 1,000 new homes per year, and local governments saw a way to capitalize on the building boom.
They began charging fees when new subdivisions, homes and businesses were built. The money went toward parks and trails to serve the growing population, to a local development group working to attract new businesses or back into local governments to help pay for the staff needed to approve and process developments.
Then the economy and home building slowed significantly, and so did the amount of fees coming in. Johnson County Development Corp. was bringing in $70,000 per year from fees charged by the county, but that plummeted to just $7,000. New promotions were scaled back to save money.