County commission to discuss school board’s impact fee recommendation
Nigün Kamp of Benesch Consultant for Marion County Public Schools gives a presentation on a long range school planning study during the Joint Workshop with the Marion County Commission and the Marion County Public School Board at the Webber Center at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, August 11, 2023. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.
The Marion County School Board has approved the numbers for educational impact fees that they will recommend to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners.
The county commission will discuss the recommendation on Sept. 6. The board has not scheduled a date to vote on whether to approve the school board’s recommendation.
The school board has pushed for impact fees, suspended in 2011 because of the recession, to be reinstated so developers will pay a one-time fee for each new home they build to help offset the financial strain development imposes on school capacity by funding the construction of new schools.
Marion County’s student population is projected to grow by nearly 12,000 by 2038, and the school district could need to spend about $1.1 billion over the next 15 years to support this growth, according to a district-funded study from the consulting firm Benesch.
The firm recommended that the school board reinstate impact fees at 100% of its suggested rate, which would equate to $10,693 for a single-family home. Instead, the school board settled on 40% of that rate after an outcry from local developers and community members over the potential negative impacts of a fee that high.
The school district contracted with Benesch to conduct the long-range plan and impact fee study in August 2022, the findings of which were presented to the school board in May of this year. In the meantime, the board had to continue to keep impact fees suspended until they could make an informed recommendation to the county commission based on the study’s findings.
When educational impact fees were suspended in 2011, they were $3,967 for each new single-family home built. The school board has now recommended that the commission approve a maximum impact fee of $4,337 for a single-family home, an increase of only $370.
The school board’s recommendation comes after more than a year of deliberation. At a recent joint workshop with the county commission, many attendees requested that distinctions be made as to how homes are categorized before finalizing how much developers will pay for each type of home if approved.
Before, impact fees were categorized into rates for single-family homes, multi-family homes and mobile homes. School Board Attorney Jeremy Powers was tasked with making edits to these categories.
“Those edits included two broad areas,’’ Powers said. “One was to expand the current three categories that have traditionally been there into five categories so that there were different pull-outs for townhouses. Also, to further define the difference between mobile home parks and single-family detached or mobile home on a lot.”
If it is approved, the recommendation to reinstate impact fees at 40% will charge builders the following amounts per unit:
Single-family detached/mobile home on a lot, per dwelling unit: $4,337
Multi-family (apartments), per dwelling unit: $4,114
Mobile home park, per dwelling unit: $2,866
Single-family attached/townhouse, per dwelling unit: $2,020
Multi-family (condominiums), per dwelling unit: $1,990
With these distinctions, the proposed fee will be increased from the suspended fee from 2011, so the district and county must meet “extraordinary circumstances” to be exempt from House Bill 337, which places limitations on increasing impact fees.
Because of this, the county must also approve the impact fee ordinance with a supermajority vote.