A bill would require the fees be adjusted each year.
Councilman Steve McKay
Frederick, Md (KM). A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7:00 on Frederick County’s school mitigation fees. They are paid by residential developers whose projects do not pass the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance schools test. That means the developer would have wait for school facilities to catch and provide the necessary space for the additional students; or they could build the additional school capacity.
The money collected from school mitigation fees go toward school construction.
Councilman Steve McKay says the fees were supposed to be adjusted annually to reflect the rising costs of building schools, but that hasn’t happened. . “And as a result, the fee has lagged significantly behind the actual cost of building schools,” he says.
McKay, and Councilmen Jerry Donald and Kai Hagen, are sponsoring a bill requiring the fees be increased each year to reflect the true cost of building schools. It would also change the effective date of the annual adjustments from January 1st to July 1st to coincide with the beginning of the fiscal year. In addition, the bill would provide certain requirements for how the school construction fee will be adjusted each year, and amend the Division of Planning and Permitting Fee Schedule reflect the adjusted school construction fee.
Since 2016, school mitigation fees are no longer an option for residential developers in Frederick County. McKay says only s small number of developers can use it under Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements already approved. .It “has nothing to do with any other developments going on in the county. It has nothing to do with any developments going on any of the municipalities,” says McKay. “It just a particular set of developments that retain the ability to use the fee.”
There will be those who say increasing the school mitigation fee will only drive up the cost of new housing in the affected areas. McKay acknowledges that. “Frankly, I don’t think it’s a significant cost when you compare it to the cost of those homes,” he says.
The hearing will begin at 7:00 PM on Tuesday. It will be virtual and citizens who want to testify can call in toll free at 1-855-925-2801 and entering meeting code 8365. They can leave a voice mail message, or enter into a queue to speak live during the public meeting.
By Kevin McManus