County Council Considering Bill To Raise School Mitigation Fees

They’re paid by developers whose projects don’t pass the school APFO test.

 

Frederick, Md (KM) Members of the Frederick County Council will be considering a bill to raise the school mitigation fees on builders and developers. They pay those fees if their projects don’t pass the school Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance test. . Instead of waiting until school construction catches up, they can pay a fee instead, and their projects continue.

The legislation was introduced during Tuesday’s meeting by Council President Bud Otis on behalf of the County Executive. “We’ve been studying this for some time. And I think that after our public hearing, I think we can get all of your questions answered,” he said. “And I think we have a plan to move forward and achieve most of what the County Executive was shooting for.”

The legislation would increase school mitigation fees each  January 1st from 2019 to 2026 without County Council approval. The increases would be based on the most recent data from the Maryland School Construction Cost Index, plus 2%.

Prior to the introduction of the bill on Tuesday, Mark Lancaster, the President of the Frederick County Building Industry Association, spoke out against imposing fee solely on builders and developers to pay for new schools¬† He said there needs to be another way so that everyone pays their fair share.. “A broad based funding mechanism needs to be considered that is derived from all real estate sale transactions, such as a transfer tax, if our county truly wants everyone paying their fair share,” he said.

“We need to get these costs of housing under control if we’re ever going to address affordable housing, or better yet obtainable housing, in this county,” he said. “Raising fees every time there appears to be deficit of putting on the back of new homes is not the answer.”

Lancaster concluded his remarks by saying the local industry “reluctantly accepts” this compromise bill. “We understand the importance of what good schools mean to the citizens of this great county. We just ask that there been a more broad based funding solution in the future,” he said.

 

By Kevin McManus