Jefferson County can collect impact fees in Ranson, judge rules

September 12, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- A judge has ruled that Jefferson County government can collect impact fees in the city of Ranson, ending a long legal battle, officials said Thursday.

Impact fees are collected from developers by the county to help fund schools, parks and recreation, fire and emergency services, and law enforcement.

When a developer applies for a building permit, the builder pays a certain amount for those categories.

School impact fees went into effect Jan. 26, 2004, but some of the money initially collected in Ranson was not forwarded to the county, officials said.

Ranson Mayor David Hamill said previously he did not think Ranson had the right to deny someone a building permit if an impact fee has not been paid.


The county filed suit against Ranson over the issue in January 2006.

Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes recently ruled that the county can collect impact fees in Ranson, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Grove told the Jefferson County Commissioners Thursday.

The commissioners believed Ranson was collecting school impact fees but were calling it a "voluntary proffer," a process Wilkes ruled was not allowed, Grove said.

Grove said an earlier agreement was reached where Ranson gave its collected money to the county, and Hamill said at one point that Ranson collected more than $500,000.

Grove told the commissioners that she expects Ranson to appeal the decision.

There was a difference of opinion over the ruling Thursday.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan told Grove she did "great work."

Hamill refused to comment on the "entire fiasco."

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