Sykesville council considers increased impact fee

THE BALTIMORE SUN

By nearly doubling its impact fee on residential construction, Sykesville hopes to be able to maintain its municipal services and roads.

The Town Council will hear public comment on the proposal to raise the $475 fee to $900 at its meeting at 7 o'clock tonight in the Town House.

"We have millions of dollars of capital improvements projects, but no money in our budget to do them," said James L. Schumacher, town manager.

The town now levies the $475 fee on each new home built within its borders.

The money generated from impact fees pays expenses associated with new residents and improvements to town roads, many of which are damaged by construction traffic.

"Residential development just doesn't pay for itself," said Helen Spinelli, county planner.

The money paid to the town is in addition to the $3,600 impact fee South Carroll homebuyers must pay to the county.

In South Carroll, new residents also pay $6,300 in water and sewer costs to hook into the Freedom water system.

Within a few years, new houses will represent 26 percent of the town housing units, Mr. Schumacher said. About 500 units are planned in two major developments at the north end of town. Population, now 3,000, will "max out" at about 4,500, he said.

Few opportunities for residential land annexation are left, although the town would like to annex more industrial property.

New residents place an added strain on municipal services, which include police protection and trash collection. The town would like to maintain those services without increasing property taxes, now at 84 cents per $100 of assessed value and the highest among Carroll's eight towns.

"Over the next five years, replacement costs for police vehicles alone [are] estimated at $82,000," Mr. Schumacher said.

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