Local governing bodies face a real dilemma. Budget-constrained, they often seek to raise revenue by imposing new taxes and business fees. Taxes are visible and unpopular and harder to get past a public still not recovered from the Great Recession. Fees, however, often sneak through since they are not universal, more often than not directed at businesses and applied selectively.

One kind of fees, those applied to new housing development and construction, have been rising. And viscerally, you might think, "OK, not that important. Somebody has to pay for services, and it doesn’t really affect me.’"

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