The Frederick County Council yesterday approved a bill to adjust school construction fees assessed on developers whose projects fail the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) Schools test. APFOs are used to slow or restrict growth until adequate infrastructure or public services are in place to serve the new population of residents.
According to WFMD:
These builders can either build the new school capacity and let their projects go forward, or they could stop building homes until the schools are adequate. A law enacted by the last Board of County Commissioners lets developers pay a certain amount toward school construction, and their project is allowed to continue.
This legislation adjusts the fees annually, starting in January 1st, 2019 to January 1st, 2026, without any action by the Council, and are based on the recent school construction cost data from the state, plus two-percent. The annual increase will be no more than six-percent.
Supporters of the legislation pointed to the fact that while school construction costs have steadily increased, developer fees have not been adjusted since 2014. Opponents of the bill argued that increasing developer fees will inevitably drive up housing costs.
Rising school construction costs are a concern for county government officials across Maryland, and ensuring a continued state commitment to education is a MACo Legislative Initiative for the 2019 General Assembly Session.
The 2016 Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education will recommend major shifts in the relative role of state and local funding in each of Maryland’s twenty-four jurisdictions. At the same time, the 21st Century School Facilities Commission and its legislative outcomes recommended an increased annual State contribution for capital projects, and required ongoing study of school construction project funding and priorities.
MACo advocates for a partnership approach to meeting the education and facility needs of Maryland’s students that fairly balances state responsibilities with local obligations, and seeks equitable and efficient solutions to meet current expenses and future goals.