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Commissioners Vote to Eliminate Education Impact Fees

Home builders will not have to pay education impact fees for at least two years.

The voted 3 to 2 to temporarily "reduce the education portion of impact fees to zero" for two years retroactively from June 15, 2012, according to a county government news release.

Director of Management and Budget Ted Zaleski said that by law the county can only use the educational impact fees it collects to provide the capacity to serve growth.

Builders of new homes pay impact fees with the goal of having new development pay for itself. The impact fees allow the county to expand services (e.g. build new schools) to meet demand so that both new and existing residents are provided with the same level of service.

Zaleski said there are limits on how long the county can hold collected impact fees and currently there are no appropriate capital projects planned.

Since this money is highly restricted, the county is prohibited from using it for other educational expenses such as increased staff, facility maintenance or improvement or any non-capacity related expenditure, according to a county government news release.

The timing of the fee reduction will not affect the building or completion of the Mount Airy Middle School project.

Commissioner Doug Howard voted against the reduction and cited concern that this change is premature in light of the comprehensive facilities study being conducted by the Board of Education to determine whether any county schools should be closed in light of declining enrollments.

“The study should be concluded before we make this change; if a school or two is closed, available capacity will shrink, then when enrollments increase need for additional school capacity will be heightened simply because we will have fewer schools to accommodate the additional students," Howard said.

The impact fee associated with parks will remain intact. 

 

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Buck Harmon August 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM
If we can't stop out of control, bad government at the low level of corporate town leadership, then where should we begin? Next topic should be the Old Hampstead School illusion....lots to expose about this one....notice how Nevin and Shoemaker can never muster up what it takes to participate in open public forums such as this....??
Buck Harmon August 28, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Regarding empty school seats Commissioner Rothschild, How many of them are at the huge new high school that Shoemaker insisted was needed, and pushed hard to make happen at pretty much any expense to the taxpayers? Can you muster up those numbers?
Commissioner R Rothschild August 29, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Buck- To answer your two questions.. (1) I believe eminent domain should only be used as an instrument of absolute LAST resort for a compelling public need; and (2) Both Manchester High School and North Carroll High School are each operating at about 52 to 55% capacity. -Commissioner Richard Rothschild
Buck Harmon August 29, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Thank you Richard.
Buck Harmon August 29, 2012 at 02:49 AM
It would be of great public service if Patch could do a follow up on the Hampstead Eminent Domain issue, as well as the reason that the Manchester High School had to be built so urgently. Taxpayers have been , and are still being taken for a ride on both of these issues.

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