The legislation would adjust the fees charged to some residential developers.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Council could be considering a bill early next year to increase school mitigation fees. Those are fees paid by residential developers if their projects fail the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Schools Test. If they pay the fee, they can continue building. The revenues would be used for school construction costs.
Councilmen Steve McKay and Jerry Donald will be sponsoring the legislation. “We’re working with the administration on this. This has been an administration bill to kind of right size these fees to bring them back to the level where they should have been for quite some time now,” says McKay.
The legislation setting up these fees was approved by the last Board of County Commissioners to allow the developers to pay the fee so they can continue constructing homes. McKay says these fees were supposed to be adjusted periodically, but that hasn’t happened. “The fees have been below where they should have been,” he says.
Under this bill, McKay says the fees wouldn’t be adjusted all at once, but every two years. “We need to get caught up, but we don’t necessarily need to get caught up in one year,” he says.
Councilman McKay acknowledges that this fee increase will be passed on by developers to home buyers. . However, he takes a different view. “Are those homes contributing what they should given the impact they’re having on the school system? We just have to approach it from that perspective,” says McKay.
He hopes the Council can put this bill on a workshop agenda in December, with a first reading–or formal introduction–in January.
Councilman McKay says the legislation passed by the last Board of County Commissioners setting up the fees is “a bad bill,” but the county has to deal with it. “Since we have to deal with it, first and foremost we need to make sure that the fee that we’re charging is the right fee, that it reflects the current cost of the construction of schools. And if it doesn’t, we’ve got to fix that,” he says.
This fee only covers about seven or eight developments in Frederick County, according to McKay.
By Kevin McManus