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Tabb states impact fee concerns

January 24, 2001

Tabb states impact fee concerns



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Jefferson County Commissioner said Tuesday night she is worried about the headaches that could be associated with implementing impact fees in the county.

Many residents are anxious for the Jefferson County Commission to impose impact fees as a way to pay for increased services needed because of growth.

The impact fees would be collected from developers and could be used to pay for new school construction, expanded fire and police service and other services.

But Jane Tabb cringes when she tries to imagine how the county would manage the fee system.

Under the Local Powers Act, the state law that allows counties to implement the fees, money from the fees would have to be divided among various service districts in the county.

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The service districts are used to designate the various public services in the county, including ambulance service, water and sewer service, parks and recreation, and other services.

The county commission would be in charge of calculating how much money from each fee collected goes to each service agency. Then, the commission would have to make sure the correct amount of money from the fees would be going to fund captial improvement projects in the various service areas.

Tabb said she is concerned about the county being forced to hire more administrative staff to keep track of the fees and how they are spent.

"That's where it gets real mind boggling," Tabb said.

"She's got a good point," said Board of Education member Pete Dougherty.

Dougherty said a simpler system would involve placing all of the impact fees into one pot and redistributing it, which is basically the practice in Frederick County, Md.

But Dougherty said he would rather try to work out an impact fee proposal through the current structure of the Local Powers Act than try something different.

To be able to implement impact fees, counties must abide by a complicated set of regulations in the Local Powers Act. Lawmakers say they are prepared to go to Charleston. W.Va. next month to change some of the regulations in hopes of making the Local Powers Act easier for counties to implement.

About 50 people, including members of the county commission and the Board of Education, held a public meeting Tuesday night to determine how to implement the Local Powers Act.

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