School Construction Fees To Be Adjusted Each Year

The Council approved that bill on Tuesday.


Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Council on Tuesday approved a bill to adjust the school construction fees over a seven-year period.. The vote was 5-3 with Councilmembers Jerry Donald and MC Keegan-Ayer in the “no’ column.

The fees are paid by developers with projects in areas which fail the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance schools test. These builders can either build the new school capacity and let their projects go forward, or they could stop building homes until the schools are adequate. A law enacted by the last Board of County Commissioners lets developers pay a certain amount toward school construction, and their project is allowed to continue.

This legislation adjusts the fees annually, starting in January 1st, 2019 to January 1st, 2026,  without any action by the Council, and are based on the recent school construction cost data from the state, plus two-percent. The annual increase will be no more than six-percent.

Supporters of the bill  say the fees  have not been adjusted since 2014, and school construction costs have increased since then. But opponents say it would bring up the cost of housing. Developers pay the fee, opponents argue, but it’s reflected in the price homebuyers pay.

The Council also approved bills to set up limited food waste composting.; establish a Senior Services Advisory Board; and allow farm based craft breweries to hold promotional events.

An amendment to a bill calling for the impartiality of members of the Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals was adopted. The main bill will now go back for a public hearing.

Legislation sponsored by Councilman Billy Shreve to allow once again the Council to appoint members of the Ethics Commission was defeated. The current process allows the League of Women Voters to nominate  members of the Commission. Those candidates  are approved by the County Executive and sent to the Council for its vote. Shreve said the League is  not as unbiased as some people think.

But Councilman Tony Chmelik said he doesn’t want to go backwards, and the new system has worked well.


By Kevin McManus