Commissioners Seek Citizen Input on Resolution to Reduce Education Impact Fees

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Aug. 9 at 10 a.m.

The will hold a public hearing to get feedback on a resolution to reduce the education portion of county impact fees.

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.

Do you think the county should stop collecting education impact fees until 2014? Tell us in comments.

During an open meeting on June 26 the commissioners directed county staff to draft a resolution (see attached) reducing the education impact fee to zero for a period of two years. According to a statement, the impact fee for parks would still be collected and would not be modified by this resolution. The Commissioners may accept or modify the proposed resolution based on the comments received at the public hearing.

County Director of Management and Budget Ted Zaleski said the use of impact fees is restricted to providing capacity to serve growth. He said there are limits on how long the county can hold collected impact fees without using them.

"We have no appropriate projects in our CIP and would start running into a problem of holding the fees too long if we continue to collect," Zaleski said.

The resolution as written states that the education impact fees will be reinstated in 2014 (see proposed rates below).

The hearing will be held on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. in room 311 of the County Office Building located, 225 North Center Street.

Comments can also be sent to the commissioners in advance of the Aug. 9 meeting. The commissioners’ office can be reached via email at commissioners@ccg.carr.org, by phone at 410-386-2043 or by mail at 225 North Center Street, Westminster, Maryland 21157.


Current and Proposed Education Impact Fees

Current education impact fees:

  • Single family - $6,303
  • Mobile home - $3,599
  • Townhouse - $7,610
  • Multi-family - $2,787

Proposed education impact fees when reinstated in 2014:

  • Single family - $6,303
  • Mobile home - $3,061
  • Townhouse - $7,006
  • Multi-family - $2,257


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Kathy July 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM
If the purpose of this is to reduce prices and stimulate home-buying, then it is a good idea. If however the money just goes to increase profits for developers, keeping new home prices the same, then I would say no. I would suggest that the County somehow link the two year reduction of impact fees to a showing that the developer in question actually reduced the price of the new home by that amount. Also, perhaps the language should read that the fees are "waived" for two years; not reduced. Otherwise, it may be hard to get them reinstated without political opponents charging that the power in party in two years "raised" taxes.
Buck Harmon July 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Carroll has a clear history of "Plastic Shack" residential development that barely meets minimum standards the majority of the time. The developers that designed and built these low standard homes profited greatly at the expense of unknowing consumers. Banks participated in this tragedy as well, leaving Carroll with literally thousands of homes that are not efficient, are falling apart and have not held their value. I'd like to think that before rolling out the red carpet for the next phase of development, that greater quality demands offering better dollar value would be included for consumers. If the same style of development is allowed to continue....the quality of life in Carroll will continue to head down the tubes as well.
John D. Witiak July 27, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Ahh, the finer points of the English language. "Waver," yes. Frankly if a developer profits from this, in my view, go for it. The adult buyer obviously has made the choice to purchase. I don't find any immorality here. Ever pay for a hotdog at an Bird's game?
Buck Harmon July 27, 2012 at 01:23 PM
So then ...you are saying that you don't get what you pay for in Carroll and that's ok..?
John D. Witiak July 27, 2012 at 03:04 PM
No, that doesn't necessarily follow. Actually, the developer might have more flexibility to add the quality. My point is the deal is between the seller and hopefully an educated buyer who has done.her.homework.
WestMonster July 27, 2012 at 04:26 PM
If they start this waiver now there will always be a reason to continue it. If allowable by state law, the code should be amended to permit impact fees to be used for modernizations and non-capacity-adding renovations. A quick review of the CCPS facility plan shows a long list of such projects that are needed at schools all over the county. Also, the system is using 125 portable classrooms, including 14 at Carrolltowne ES, 10 at Mt Airy MS, and 8 at Wm. Winchester ES. All 3 of these are at or above 100% of the state-rated capacity, and perhaps should be evaluated for additional seats. So my point is that instead of relieving profit-making developers maybe we should be re-thinking the capital improvement plan for the school system and finding ways to use this long-standing and justified revenue stream.
JoeEldersburg July 27, 2012 at 05:15 PM
WestMonster makes several good points and let's face it, our schools are hardly adequately funded...just look at the lack of accelerated learning programs and funding for the arts or even synthetic fields. Instead of figuring out how to give developers another windfall tax break at the expense of taxpayers, why not figure out how to use these excess funds for something else we need with the schools? Unfortunately, it was the real estate community that helped get this group of Commissioners elected, so they are merely calling in their chits. Everything that this BOC has done has either loosened development restrictions, eviscerated public safety (inclusive of health & social services) or curtailed responsible community planning. Providing unnecessary tax breaks that we cannot afford to developers is simply the icing on the cake.
Buck Harmon July 27, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Homes in Carroll have been built to the lowest standards allowable by law for more than 20 years, the vast majority. If the public was not educated during that time frame what's to say things are any better now? The greed driven developers that buy elections in apathetic communities will continue to screw the public...even more if the rules are relaxed at all. This stunt is not good for the public ~ only the developers and their political connections....isn't Rothschild tied to development..?
John D. Witiak July 27, 2012 at 08:42 PM
There's no question but that school projects and courses are begging for attention. But the impact fees are designed to cover costs that grow from a house that was never there before. It would be unfair to charge an I.F. to the buyer and make her pay for capital projects which are not needed because enrollment is down. Better for parents and CCPS to spread the upgrades among all Carroll Countians in the next budget workshop.
I. DeFeo July 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
You make some very good points. I would like to see these impact fees redefined in the way you suggest. Even with declining enrollment, the schools are still paying the price for previous rapid growth.
John Culleton August 24, 2012 at 07:03 PM
More residential housing will impact the school system adversely. Even with impact fees each new home will incur future costs for one or more generations of students. The taxes on that home will not pay the increased cost of having that family here. And new homes will depress the resale value of existing homes. For all these reasons and more I suggest that the impact fees be kept in place.


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