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Carroll impact fees could rise $1,762


Impact fees on new homes could increase as much as $1,762 July 1 if Carroll's commissioners approve a plan that spreads the cost of protecting the water supply across the county.

Currently, only South Carroll residents pay a water-related impact fee.

The plan, presented to the commissioners yesterday by Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman, calls for increasing the impact fee from $2,700 for a single-family home to $4,462.

The fee for a single-family home in South Carroll would rise from $3,500 to $4,462. The current $3,500 fee now includes $800 to pay for the planned Gillis Falls Reservoir.

"The biggest change is that it's not a reservoir fee any longer. It's a water resource fee. It would become a countywide assessment," Mr. Curfman said.

Impact fees are levied on residential development and are paid by builders, who usually pass on the costs to homebuyers. The fees are calculated so that each new housing unit pays a share of the costs of expanding schools and parks to accommodate growth.

The current impact fees were adopted in May 1989.

The increases proposed yesterday are based on a formula developed by Tischler and Associates, a Montgomery County consulting firm the county hired to study the issue.

Mr. Curfman said his office used Tischler's formula and inserted updated population figures and the latest capital budget program in drafting the $4,462 fee proposal.

The commissioners agreed yesterday to hear the public's views on the proposed increases at a hearing in June so they could decide what to do before the start of the 1993-1994 fiscal year.

A date for the hearing has not been set.

"I think it should be raised," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said of the fee. "I can't argue with the figures. It's been studied to death."

Growth affects other public facilities, including roads, he said.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said, "At this point, I'm going to reserve any comment until we hear from the public."

But she said spreading the cost of water resource protection over the county is fair.

"We do need the extra funds. Wellhead-protection money is going to be very important," she said. "A lot of people come [to Carroll] out of the city, where they are accustomed to someone else taking care of their water supply."

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he does not favor charging a water resource fee across the county because not all residents use public water. He said the argument that residents who don't use public water might use recreation areas around reservoirs is a weak one.

He said, however, that he would support an increased impact fee to pay for schools.

"I'm not happy about it, but that's probably what we're going to have to do," Mr. Dell said.

Westminster builder Jeff Powers, president of the Carroll County chapter of the Home Builders Association of Maryland, said builders expected some increase, but not as much as Mr. Curfman proposed.

"Obviously, increases are necessary. It's the nature of the beast today," Mr. Power said.

Builders will study the proposal, he said, noting that they approved of Tischler's formula for calculating the fees.

A study committee that included builders, attorneys and surveyors reviewed a report from the Tischler company released last July, Mrs. Gouge said.

That report recommended an increase in the impact fee for a single-family home to $3,621, plus a $545 reservoir fee in South Carroll.

Mr. Curfman said his staff updated those figures.

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