St. Mary’s Impact Fees Lag Behind Actual Infrastructure Costs

An annual analysis of St. Mary’s County impact fees found that the fee charged on new homes built in the county significantly lags behind costs of providing schools, roads and parks for the increased population. As reported by the Southern Maryland News Online,

…the St. Mary’s County finance office calculated the actual impact of a new home on public infrastructure is $19,221. The impact fee charged is $4,500, the same amount in place for the last 15 years.

According to this year’s calculations, the share of a new home’s impact on schools is $14,978, $2,346 on county parks and $1,897 on county roads. The $4,500 impact fee collects $3,375 for schools, $675 for parks and $450 for roads.

County finance staff did not recommend an increase in impact fees as a part of their analysis because transfer taxes are also used to cover the cost of new infrastructure. However, many commissioners expressed concern that fees have not kept pace over time.

According to budget documents, the impact fees have amassed $9.4 million available for school projects, $1.2 million for roads and $1 million for parks. There is $27.7 million available from property transfer fees.