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Jefferson County officials consider additional fees

April 22, 2005|by DAVE MCMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Jefferson County officials are considering two more impact fees: one for parks and recreation and one for fire and emergency services.

Jefferson County Impact Fee Coordinator Mark Schiavone said Thursday these two fees may be the last for a growing county that already has two impact fees.

If the Jefferson County Commission approves impact fees for parks and recreation and fire and emergency services, the fees will be added to a school impact fee and a law enforcement impact fee already implemented by the commissioners.

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Although the commissioners have the ability to pass more impact fees, Schiavone said it appears the commissioners have no plans to implement any other ones.

Under state law, the commissioners also can pass impact fees for county buildings and vehicles, roads, and water and sewer systems, Schiavone said.

"There's a bunch of stuff we can do," Schiavone said.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said after Thursday's meeting that an impact fee could be considered to help pay for new government offices downtown, but he said the ones for schools, law enforcement, parks and emergency services are the priorities.

"I think, essentially, those are the four big ones," Corliss said.

Impact fees are collected when new homes or businesses are built in the county. The fees are designed to help pay for additional public facilities demanded by population growth.

According to the proposals for the new impact fees, the county's population growth is expected to increase from the 2004 estimate of 44,184 to 71,820 by the year 2022.

On Thursday, the commissioners decided to hold a public hearing May 9.

At the hearing, they plan to to accept public comments on impact fees to support parks and recreation facilities, and fire and emergency service facilities. The commissioners plan to hold the hearing at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Charles Town Library.

Under the fire and emergency impact fee, developers would have to pay $536 for every single-family home, $409 for every town house or duplex and $403 for every multifamily unit.

Like the law enforcement impact fee, the fire and emergency services impact fee would apply to commercial development.

The amount builders would have to pay for commercial projects would range from $142 per 1,000 square feet for manufacturing facilities to $1,808 for every 1,000 square feet of commercial/shopping center space in facilities that are 25,000 square feet or less in size.

Under the proposed impact fee for parks and recreation, $662 would be collected from builders for every single-family home, $506 would be collected for every town house or duplex and $498 would be collected for every multifamily unit.

Based on an annual average of 300 building permits for single-family homes, Schiavone estimated the fire and emergency services impact fee would generate about $160,000 a year and the parks and recreation impact fee would generate about $200,000.

The school impact fee has raised about $3.2 million for school facilities and the law enforcement impact fee has raised about $1,681 for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Schiavone said.

The two proposed impact fees would fund land acquisition and new equipment for parks and recreation and fire and emergency services.

Commissioner Jim Surkamp questioned what would happen if a town like Ranson annexes a piece of land the county has acquired for parks.

Surkamp also said he was concerned about having a public hearing on both fees, feeling the move could be construed by the public that the commissioners are "pushing everything through."

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