FORSYTH COUNTY — The new panel charged with reviewing Forsyth County’s impact fee structure is considering potential changes to how the funds are collected and distributed for public safety and libraries.
The fees for those two areas are currently calculated on a per square footage basis, with the money divided north and south of Hwy. 20.
But the Forsyth County Impact Fee Advisory Committee is looking at doing away with the county division and changing fees to a per-residential basis regardless of size.
Public safety impact fees go toward both the county fire department and sheriff’s office, but only the former splits the fees along Hwy. 20. Fire Chief Danny Bowman called the existing setup “nonsensical.”
“Hwy. 20 hasn’t got anything to do with where those firetrucks come from,” Bowman said.
Impact fees are a charge for new development that helps to cover the cost of increased demand on roads, infrastructure, services and amenities.
The current impact fees per square foot of heated area for residential developments are: $0.34 for parks and recreation; $0.06 for library; $0.09 for fire department; and $0.02 for emergency/911.
Bowman is also in favor of the change from the square footage calculation to the per-residential unit plan.
“The reason that I would recommend that you go with unit instead of square footage is … if it’s a residential fire, from a trailer to Windermere, you get three engines and two ladders [trucks],” he said. “Then on a commercial [blaze], you get four engines and two ladders.”
The committee also discussed whether impact fees for local libraries should be handled on a countywide basis and per-residential unit. A third-party study of local impact fees in 2014 recommended the library’s be switched to countywide.
Forsyth collects impact fees only for public safety, libraries and parks and recreation.
The impact fees for parks and recreation and the portion that goes to the sheriff’s office are collected on a countywide basis.
No formal action was taken during the meeting. The seven-person committee’s next meeting is set for 5 p.m. Aug. 24 at the county administration building in downtown Cumming.