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Expert: Impact fee for roads could be beneficial to Forsyth County

FORSYTH COUNTY — The committee tasked with reviewing Forsyth’s impact fee program met Monday night with the expert who recently conducted a study for the county.

Clancy Mullen, vice-president of Duncan Associates, a firm specializing in assisting local governments with policy, shared his report with the seven-person group.

Among the changes he recommended were shifting libraries, which are currently separated by a north-south county split, to a county-wide impact fee, consolidating the fees for E911 and collecting them on a countywide basis and collecting a new levy for roads.

“Obviously this new roads fee is the big kid on the block, if that’s something that you want to do,” Mullen said. “You’ve got about $1,000 right now [per residence,] but it would be $1,400 with the update.

“A road impact fee could generate significant amounts of money.”

Impact fees are a charge for development that helps to cover the cost of increased demand on infrastructure, services and amenities. Forsyth currently collects them for libraries, parks and E911, which is divided by the county fire department and sheriff’s office.

Mullen said that the firm would compose two drafts of the proposed impact fee changes.

“One with and without the road fees, the county can decide which one they want to adopt,” he said.

The study also supported changing from a per square footage rate to a per unit basis and dividing residential into three categories — single family, multi-family and mobile home/RV.

In addition, it proposed splitting non-residential into four categories — retail/commercial, office, industrial/warehouse and public.

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.

Though no formal action was taken, the committee appears to be closing in on its recommendations to the county commission.