MANATEE -- A week after the Manatee County Commission approved raising county impact fees, the planning commission unanimously recommended approving the reinstatement of school impact fees.
The planning commission found the Educational Facilities Impact Fee Update Ordinance consistent with the county's comprehensive plan. The ordinance will go before the county commission on Jan. 7 for its approval. No developers or representatives from the building industry spoke during Thursday's meeting.
School impact fees, which are collected on new residential development for construction of new schools and related facilities, were suspended in 2009.
"This fee would address new development's impact on educational facilities," said John Osborne, the county's planning official.
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TischlerBise of Bethesda, Md., which did an impact fee study for the county and school district, recommended the following school impact fees for new homes:
- $6,415 for a duplex or townhouse.
- $6,086 for a single family home.
- $3,276 for a multifamily or other style home.
- $1,372 for a mobile home.
On Nov. 10, the school board approved a resolution asking the county to implement those fees over a three-year period, asking for a 50 percent collection rate the first year, rising to 75 percent the second year and going to 100 percent the third year. If voters approve a sales tax extension for the school district, then impact fee rates would drop back to 50 percent.
But some planning commissioners said Thursday that they think school impact fees should be phased in the same as the county impact fees: at 80 percent the first year, then 90 percent the second, going to 100 percent the third year.
Planning Commissioner Matthew Bower voiced his support of "80-90-100 implemented proposal versus what is in here." Planning Commissioner Timothy Rhoades echoed the sentiment.
The county commission will have the final say whether to adopt the fee as recommended by the school board or adopt the fees at a different amount. If the county commission has an opinion different than what the school board recommended, it doesn't have to go back before the school board, according to Bill Clague, assistant county attorney.
Manatee County resident Ed Goff said he is opposed to the resolution approved by the school board, instead calling for the fees to be adopted at the full amounts recommended by the study.
"The school system needs all the funding it can get for new schools," Goff told the commission Thursday. "Impact fees have a positive impact on the economy."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.