The Monday after the Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted to reinstate impact fees, the city of Dawsonville discussed the possibility of levying some of their own.
Mayor Mike Eason said Aug. 20 that he and council members Jason Power and Stephen Tolson had met with BOC Chairman Billy Thurmond and Commissioner Chris Gaines several months ago about impact fees.
“They requested that we as a city consider impact fees,” Eason said. “No decisions have been made at this time, we are simply throwing this on the table.”
Eason presented the county’s impact fee methodology report to the rest of the council. The report lists the fees that Dawson County adopted on Aug. 16 and explains how the maximum fees were calculated.
“I want everybody to be thinking about this. I’m not suggesting we’re ready to do any impact fees or even if we want to do impact fees I wanted everybody to just have this information available,” Eason said.
City Attorney Dana Miles told the council that impact fees are a development tool to fund a portion of the cost of infrastructure and capital improvements that are required by growth.
“What I would say to the council is that if you’re considering impact fees the smart time to consider them is on the upswing of economic growth, not when you’re at your peak because that’s too late,” Miles said. “To me, the two major uses I see for impact fees within the city would be roads and a tertiary wastewater treatment plant because as you grow in population you will have to have a new wastewater treatment plant.”
In order to get one permitted through the EPD, Miles said, the city would probably want to use SPLOST dollars, impact fees and enterprise funds to fund it.
“The same would be true for road improvements like the city portion of the improvement to Perimeter Road, building the Perimeter Road extension on to Hwy. 53 West, those are the types of projects that you could help fund with impact fees should you choose to do so,” Miles said.
Miles said that in order to enact impact fees, the council would have to first decide that was what they wanted to do, and then hold at least two public hearings and conduct a study, all which would take several months.
Eason said he wanted the council to consider the use of impact fees for the expansion of the city’s sewage capacity and wastewater treatment.
“As you know we do a lot of water and sewer service, so if we’ve got 500 homes coming into the city that’s going to be a burden on our sewer we may not be able to handle it with our existing resources,” Eason said. “At the current time we have about 400 or 500 homes that are already zoned, they’re not under construction yet but in the next 24 months they probably will be under construction, possibly completed.
“We want everybody to study what’s been provided, what the information from the county is... and then we need to come back together in the next month or two and discern whatever we want to do. This was a request that the county made of us and I wanted us to consider it.”