homepage logo

Impact fee change implementation to start Sept. 3

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Aug 27, 2021

Despite residential construction in Jefferson County, the number of students in the school system has been on the decline, prompting county commissioners to lower the school impact fee. Toni Milbourne

CHARLES TOWN — Jefferson County Commissioners voted on Tuesday morning to extend the implementation of a change to the impact fee collection to Sept. 3.

The commission voted at their Aug. 5 regular meeting to decrease the amount of the impact fees collected from new homebuilders for school impact to just $1. Previously, the fee for school impact had been set at $5,992 for single-family dwellings; $6,748 for townhomes and duplex dwellings and at $4,185 for multi-family dwellings.

The Aug. 5 vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Jane Tabb voting against the decrease.

At the time of the vote to decrease the fee, Commission President Steve Stolipher cited data indicating a decrease in student enrollment. Such a decrease makes it difficult to justify an impact fee for new growth, Stolipher said.

Commissioners chose to reduce the school impact fee to $1, leaving the avenue to raise the fee in the future should the need return.

According to Stolipher, while he did not believe the impact fee collection for schools was necessary due to the decrease in student enrollment, he did believe the fees collected for fire, emergency services, law enforcement and parks and recreation are justifiable and should be continued.

In addition to decreasing the school impact fee for residential construction, the commissioners voted at the August meeting to eliminate commercial impact fees throughout the county. Those fees, which had been previously lowered in years past, were so minimal that Stolipher noted that by abolishing them altogether, businesses may see that as a favorable incentive to come to Jefferson County.

“I don’t see how we’d ever need to implement an impact fee on a business coming to Jefferson County,” Stolipher had said.

Currently, the county collects fees for schools, county law enforcement, parks and recreation and emergency medical services.

The commission decision to lower the school fees and eliminate the fees for businesses was to go into effect shortly after the vote in August; however, due to administrative changes that need to be made to the ordinance, the commission met Tuesday morning at a special meeting to set the date of implementation for Sept. 3.

“There was a bit more to the administrative changes than we expected,” Stolipher said, after the meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes. “We will have those changes before us at our regular meeting on Sept. 2 for approval.”