State Legislators Consider Howard County School APFO Legislation

Baltimore Sun article (2018-01-05) reported that Howard County’s state legislators will consider pushing legislation to modify the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). APFOs are use to slow or restrict growth until adequate infrastructure or public services are in place to serve the new population of residents. The proposed legislation would allow the County Council to increase developer fees for projects being built in areas that lack school capacity. The article stated that the legislation would allow for fees to be: (1) doubled in areas where schools at at 110 to 115 percent of capacity; and (2) increased by 200 percent in areas where schools are at 115 to 120 of capacity. Developers who pay the fees may bypass the current four year waiting period for construction in those areas. From the article:

“It’s going to take up a lot of our time during the legislative session for the Howard County caucus to really make a decision on this,” [Delegate Robert] Flanagan, [a Republican,] said. “What I want to have happen is to get on a path for adequate school construction funding that is fair.”

[House Delegation Chairman Eric] Ebersole and Senate Delegation Chairman Guy Guzzone, both Democrats, said they need to wait until the County Council passes its APFO legislation before knowing what the best strategy is for the state’s bill. The council’s initial passage of its APFO bills in November was declared void as the bills were already expired by the time of the vote.

Del. Frank Turner [, a Democrat,] said he anticipates more changes could be made to the county’s APFO bill before it is passed, which would effect the state’s handling of the issue.

The article also stated that the Howard delegation will also be considering legislation that would: (1) create a student loan repayment assistance program for teachers; (2) exempt teachers buying their first home in the County from the County’s transfer tax; and (3) increase the amount of the County’s transfer tax that can be put towards the School Site Acquistion and Construction Fund from 25 percent to 50 percent.