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Hearing to be held for Forsyth County park impact fees

FORSYTH COUNTY -- New funding may soon begin to be available for county parks.

Forsyth County commissioners recently voted 5-0 to hold public hearings on changes to the county’s impact fees surrounding parks, which will be recalculated based on more accurate land values from the county’s tax assessor.

“It’s new input … based upon the board making that direction,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “We don’t need to put together a committee for this. We’re not talking about a new layer of fees; we’re talking about modifying fees already in existence.”

Impact fees are charges for new building that help cover the cost of increased demand on roads, infrastructure, services and amenities.
It is estimated that the fees will bring in an additional about $500,000 per year for parks.

Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer, said the reassessment has increased the value of parks by about 10 percent.

In July, commissioners were presented with an update to the land prices in which they were valued more closely to market prices than what the county originally paid.

The impact fee will only be assessed for new residential developments.

“In single-family, it went from the current fee that the board adopted back in April of $1,015 per dwelling units to now $1,178 per housing unit, a 16 percent increase,” Gruen said.

The update to the park fees was done by Duncan Associates, which did a study on the county’s fees prior to the adoption of the new fees.

In April, commissioners approved a new impact fee structure for incoming developments in the county, and discussions leading up to the decision focused heavily on road impact fees, which were approved.

In recent months, the Parks and Recreation Department has expressed funding concerns due to the dwindling parks, recreation and greenspace bond approved by voters in 2008.

No date for the public hearing was given at the meeting.