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Charging developers to build infrastructure is a challenge

September 11, 2005|By Tamela Baker

Most Washington County officials insist new development should pay for itself, but determining how to charge developers for costs of new roads, schools and infrastructure can be a challenge.

With changes to the excise tax approved by the General Assembly this spring and enacted by the Washington County Commissioners this summer, Washington County entered a period of transition.

Fees and agreements reached between developers and the county government for roads and schools under the current Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance remain in place and vary depending on where the development occurs and the impact the development will have, Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said.

For example, residential development is charged about $8,500 per unit in districts where a school has enrollment at or above 85 percent of its rated capacity. Other APFO agreements affect roads - developments along Maugans Avenue in the county's north end are charged about $6,000 per peak p.m. trip generated by the development.

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Up to a dozen of these agreements are in hand, Rohrer said. Eventually, the excise tax, a flat tax charged countywide, will "by and large" replace APFO agreements, particularly for residential development, he said.

But APFO agreements "will always be there as a tool to keep growth in check," Rohrer said, in order to pay for significant road construction or other projects that otherwise wouldn't be covered by the excise tax.

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