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More impact fees weighed in Jefferson County

April 30, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - With a school impact fee system in place in Jefferson County, county officials on Thursday opened discussions on using impact fees to support police and parks and recreation programs in the county.

Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss said the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission has a long list of parks needs, but an "acute shortage of money."

During the recent budget process, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission members requested $2.2 million from the commissioners to build a new community center.

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County parks officials say the center is needed because they do not have an indoor facility for their programs.

Instead of awarding $2.2 million for the community center, the commissioners decided to set aside $1.6 million for a building program that could include the community center and other needed facilities.

During the budget process, Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober asked for about five additional deputies but the commissioners instead gave Boober two more deputy positions, Corliss said.

Corliss said it is important to find additional money for the sheriff's department, especially in light of new proposals under consideration in the sheriff's department, such as the establishment of a substation on the Blue Ridge Mountain.

Commissioner Jane Tabb said she was concerned that the commissioners were "putting the cart before the horse" because no one from the sheriff's department or parks and recreation had expressed an interest in having impact fees to fund their departments.

Corliss responded by saying he did not believe there would be any hesitation from parks and recreation officials about passing an impact fee for the agency.

"It's our responsibility to find revenue to fund these (agencies)," said Commissioner Rusty Morgan.

Despite Corliss' attempt to have county officials begin drafting proposed impact fee ordinances for the departments, the commissioners decided to get input from the two agencies first.

If the commissioners get resolutions from parks and recreation and the sheriff's department in favor of impact fees for the departments, the commissioners could draft proposed ordinances for the fees, Hooper said.

No possible impact fee amounts were mentioned Thursday.

If the county passes a parks and recreation impact fee, a fee would be paid for each new home constructed in the county, similar to the school impact fee, Hooper said.

A police impact fee would be paid through new homes and businesses, the commissioners said.

New businesses would have to pay the police impact fee because police have to respond periodically to businesses for calls, Corliss said.

Since Jan. 26, county officials have been collecting school impact fees from housing developers to help pay for new school facilities.

Developers have to pay $7,122 for every new single-family home and mobile home they put up, $5,562 for every townhouse or duplex and $4,040 for every multi-family dwelling.

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