Education Committee passes proposed increase in controversial educational impact fee

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Education Committee

The Williamson County Commission Education Committee passed a proposed increase in the education impact fee, which will be put to a final vote by the full commission next month.

The Williamson County Commission Education Committee met Monday to discuss a single resolution: an increase in the rate of the controversial educational impact fee. 

Implemented in March 2017, this fee charges developers a certain amount per unit on new residential developments to help cover the cost of school growth brought by this new housing. 

Every three years, the factors determining the fee rates are reassessed, raising or lowering the suggested rates in any given period. The county contracted TischlerBise, a Maryland-based company that worked to determine the 2017 numbers, to put together a new report this year, which could change the rates beginning in March 2020. 

This report details the current capital cost per student for Williamson County Schools, differentiating between kindergaten-eighth grade and high school students, and then calculates the average number of students expected from each new housing unit based on its square footage. New developments within the Franklin Special School District will only be charged based on the high school rate, since the district feeds into WCS after eighth grade, whereas those outside FSSD will pay fees towards both kindergarten-eighth grade and high schools. 

The previous rates were placed at the maximum amounts as allowed by the determining methodologies. The new rates are again placed at the maximum, which are almost all higher than 2017’s numbers due to changes in data measuring household demographics as well as capital costs per student. 

The net capital cost per student in the new report is listed as $16,697 for kindergarten-eighth grade and $19,045 for high school. 

Though the rate for units under 1,400 square feet within FSSD went down by $40, all the other rates face an increase ranging between roughly $300 and $1,000. Listed below are the rates of 2017 versus the current proposed rates. 

Housing Unit Size 

Within FSSD (2017) 

Within FSSD (proposed) 

Outside FSSD (2017) 

Outside FSSD (proposed) 

Less than 1,400 square feet 

$1,145 per unit 

$1,105 per unit 

$2,827 per unit 

$3,375 per unit 

Between 1,400 and 1,899 square feet 

$1,914 per unit 

$2,114 per unit 

$5,317 per unit 

$6,021 per unit 

Between 1,900 and 2,399 square feet 

$2,502 per unit 

$2,895 per unit 

$7,220 per unit 

$8,038 per unit 

Between 2,400 and 2,899 square feet 

$2,993 per unit 

$3,523 per unit 

$8,788 per unit 

$9,685 per unit 

Between 2,900 and 3,399 square feet 

$3,386 per unit 

$4,057 per unit 

$10,074 per unit 

$11,053 per unit 

3,400 square feet or more 

$3,745 per unit 

$4,514 per unit 

$11,210 per unit 

$12,244 per unit 

Committee member and District 4 commissioner Chad Story raised a concern about how this would affect builders of individual houses as opposed to developers building large residential areas. However, the fee was justified based on the principal that dwellers building a new house would more often than not vacate their current residence upon the completion of the new home, adding to the housing capacity of the area and further impacting the school system. 

Betsy Hester, District 2 commissioner, also noted that senior citizen dwellings that restrict its residency to those 55 or older are exempt from this fee. 

The committee passed the resolution, which suggests these new rates be implemented next year. The county commission will vote on these rates at its next meeting, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Williamson County Administrative Complex. 

(1) comment

VictorA

Lets be clear on this new tax....with the average size new home around 3,000+sf new home buyers will be paying an extra $10,000-$11,000 on the price of their home. I suppose these commissioners think this tax won't impact existing tax payers, but DO NOT BE FOOLED! The price of all existing homes will follow immediately and everyone will be paying more for housing! A vote FOR this Education Impact Fee is a vote for higher price homes! So much for 'affordable housing' in Williamson County. I love how our politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths! VOTE NO!

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