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Fees had less impact in 2008
Revenue drops by 55 percent
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Forsyth County News

In another sign of the economic slowdown, Forsyth County commissioners learned this week that revenue from impact fees was down about 55 percent in 2008.

Christina Jones, who manages the county’s impact fee program, said collections in 2008 totaled $2.08 million, which was about $2.5 million less than the $4.58 million received in 2007.

“When development is down, fees are down,” said Commissioner Patrick Bell, noting the fees are tied directly to new development.

Bill Thomas, chief financial officer, said impact fees are incurred “when you build ... when you impact the services the county provides.”

“We collect a fee based on the impact a development or particular house would have,” Thomas said.

The charges are collected with building permit fees, then distributed to various county departments for the services they provide. The current impact fee rate is 51 cents per square foot.

Money collected can be used only for capital projects and improvements like building fire stations, libraries and public parks.

Each year the county must submit an impact fee report to the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center and the state Department of Community Affairs in order to renew its status as a Qualified Local Government and maintain eligibility for certain state grants, loans and permits.
Tuesday, the commission unanimously approved permission to advertise for a public hearing on the matter, to be held April 2.

After approving the report, the county can send it along to the two agencies. The board could then adopt the update for final approval June 4.

Of the $2.08 million in impact fees for 2008, $591,994 went to the fire department and about $1.1 million was directed to parks and recreation, county figures show.

According to the figures, $62,812 went to administration, $64,092 to E-911 and $185,919 to the public library system. In addition, parks and recreation donations totaled $75,000.

Investment income came in at $191,431 total from the same departments.

Impact fee expenses, which included work on capital projects in 2008, were about $2.4 million.

Of that $2.4 million, about $1.4 million went the Big Creek Greenway; $219,680 to Sawnee Mountain Preserve; $430,400 to Fire Station 6; $184,819 for administration; $81,206 for the Miracle League field; and $21,758 in refunds. (click links for maps)

The total impact fee fund balance as of Dec. 31 was $12.4 million.

E-mail Frank Reddy at