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Impact fees bring in $5M to Forsyth in 2015
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FORSYTH COUNTY -- More than $5 million was collected in Forsyth County impact fees in 2015.

During a meeting on Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0, with District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent absent, to send required updates on the year’s fees and the county’s short-term work program to the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission.

“This is for the 2015 impact fee update, our annual update which we are required to submit to collect impact fees,” said Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer.

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

No one spoke during the county’s required public hearing.

The 2015 totals do not fall under new impact fees that were approved earlier this year and included fees for roads.

Last year, impact fees brought in $3,323,864 for parks and recreation and $192,578 for E-911. Impact fees were split along a north-south Forsyth divide for fire and library fees.

For fire impact fees, the south collected $738,844, and about $250,000 was collected in the north, Gruen said.

“In the new ordinance [fire fees] will be combined from now on,” he said. “In combination, we collected just under $1 million for fire facilities, and actually if you add the 911 amount to it, which totals the public safety part of the ordinance, it is over $1 million over the last year for public safety.”

South Forsyth brought in $410,623 for libraries, while the north collected in $148,195.

Gruen also gave commissioners an update on impact fee expenditures, which totaled about $1.8 million.

The largest expenditure was for fire in south Forsyth for $1,365,513. About $8,500 was spent for fire in the north.

For libraries, around $45,000 went to the north, while more than $80,000 was spent on south Forsyth projects. Gruen said part of that funding would go toward plans to expand Sharon Forks Library.

Other expenses were $183,362 for E-911, $121,575 for administrative and $560 for parks and recreation.

Gruen said in his presentation the county would likely officially update the fees on Oct. 20.

Earlier in the meeting, commissioners approved by a 3-1 vote, with District 5 Commissioner Jim Boff against and Levent absent, to approve changes to the county’s short-term work plan, which is required for the county’s comprehensive plan.

Under the change, work on a potential density bonus for multi-family developments scheduled for 2019 to be moved to 2017. To balance the work load, a 2017 project to improve and clarify certain zoning terms was moved to 2019.