The fees that would have been
The impact fee fund balance as of June 2011 was more than $51.000.
a look back at the city of madison’s impact fees
Shortly after the City of Madison repealed its Impact Fee Ordinance, the Madison City Council voted unanimously March 12 to submit a 2012 annual update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan to the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission for regional and state review.
According to Madison City Planner Monica Callahan, updates to the city’s Capital Improvements Element plan (CIE), have been approved by the state. The changes include several projects that would have been impact fee-eligible but will now be absorbed by other funds– and one road project that has been abandoned.
At the March 12 city council meeting, Mayor Bruce Gilbert urged the City of Madison to refund all impact fees collected since the city adopted the ordinance in 2009. About $60,000 has been collected, and $40,000 was earmarked to pay for a two-year study prior to the adoption of the fee but was later paid through the city’s general fund budget, according to Callahan, who said that approximately $55,000 remains in the city’s impact fee account.
The council did not make a vote March 12 and no discussion was made on impact fees at the March 26 city council meeting, but Callahan said she anticipates city council will vote to return impact fee revenue in the fire and transportation categories.
Those who paid the fees received an invoice at the time of their payment that showed the amount collected in the categories of fire protection, police department, parks and recreation, and roads, Callahan said. Commercial or industrial businesses did not pay toward parks.
Though the CIE outlined the construction of a new fire station and obtaining of an engine and ladder truck by the year 2016, the need for those facilities and services were based on a projected increase in day/night population, which includes both residents and workers in Madison, Callahan said.
Based on a stagnant 1 percent growth in population, Callahan said it was likely that the initiation date for those projects would have been postponed anyway.
Callahan referred to those projects as “maintaining a level of service.”
“The needs are based to come when the population brings the need,” she said. “I like to think of it as a swing set. You have three children on it, but when the population grows, you have 12 children at the swing set. Three are sitting in the swings and nine are sitting around watching, so you need more swings.”
According to the update to the Comprehensive Plan, the city has abandoned the only road project of the CIE, which included improvements to the US 278, SR 24 SPUR and US 441 intersection, and would have cost $2.5 million.
Callahan said that while some of the projects can be absorbed by the general fund, the road project would have been too large of a tax increase to be funded without 50 percent impact fee revenue.
The city will continue with Phase II and Phase III of a new facility for the Madison Police Department, a project that was 100 percent impact fee-eligible and cost $175,489. About $3,700 in impact fee revenue has been encumbered. The cost has now shifted to the city budget, Callahan said.
The only parks and recreation project to use existing impact fee revenue is a new playground in the Canaan district that costs $133,801 and was 70 percent impact fee-eligible. About $13,000 in impact fee revenue has been collected for the project, while the city has received a $10,000 donation.
A playground and improvements to Washington Park, which costs about $143,000, was 100 percent impact fee-eligible and scheduled for 2015, will be absorbed by the general fund but not funded by impact fee revenue.
Other impact fee-eligible projects in parks and recreation, such as new tennis courts and gyms, were based on a population need and thus projected to be built as late as 2024. They were not considered for the city’s Short Term Work Plan (STWP), which only accounts for projects within a five-year window. New ball fields and practice fields scheduled for 2016 were also left out from the STWP.
Printed in the April 12 2012 edition.