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Commissioners review impact fee improvement plan
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The county is getting a plan in place for how to spend fees accrued from construction.

At a recent work session, Forsyth County Commissioner’s voted unanimously to set a public hearing on Aug. 2 for the capital improvements element update and community work program. The plan will deal with how impact fees collected are spent across the county.

Impact fees are charges for new building that help cover the cost of increased demand on roads, infrastructure, services and amenities.

The county collects impact fees for fire, E-911, libraries, parks and roads.

The county can formally adopt the update on Oct. 4.

Projects in the plan will span from 2018-2022.

The fire impact fees will go toward new fire stations – Fire Station 11 at Pittman Road and Fire Station 13 at Matt Highway/Old Federal Road. The total cost of each is about $3.7 million.

Fire impact fees will also be used for an expansion/replacement at Fire Station 9 for $4.1 million, a $4.4 million expansion of Fire Station 15 on Hwy. 20 and a fire training complex.

“On the fire training complex, one thing that we’re looking at differently is to use impact fees in the acquisition of land for that complex,” said County Manager Eric Johnson.

For E-911, $1.8 million is for a radio tower and about $250,000 will go toward a very high-frequency project.

For libraries, about $275,000 will go to Hampton Park Library, $300,000 for a bookmobile and $30,000 for a site plan for a library at Matt Community Park. About $2.4 million will be used to pay for a portion of the $13.8 million total for a new library on Fowler Road.

Park projects include $10.3 million, of a $19.5 million total cost, for a new park in east Forsyth and $2 million, out of $20.5 million total, for a new park in south Forsyth. The second phase of Matt Community Park will receive $16 million in impact fees for the $28.2 million project.

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills brought up issues with spending the money by district and said members of the community commonly cross district lines to use parks.

“It should be about the area and what that area serves,” she said. “When you look at where Matt Park is, the incoming [District 1] commissioner, Molly Cooper, lives in the back door of Matt Park.”

Johnson said it was his plan to use the fees by area.

“I certainly take responsibility for the fact that I think that impact fees should be geographically dispersed,” he said. “Not to punish an area by taking the money away, but so that as we have buildout in the various areas of the county, people can see something that they’ll benefit from in a reasonable distance.”

Road projects include funds for widening projects on Hwy. 369 between Hwy. 9 and the Hwy. 306/Ga. 400 widening; Hwy. 306 from Ga. 400 to Hwy. 369; and McGinnis Ferry from the Ga. 400 interchange/Bethany Bend to Union Hill Road.

The Coal Mountain Connector will receive $8.5 million in impact fees.