Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Fees on new homes weighed

Impact charges would aid schools

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The Warren County commissioners are considering charging $5,000 to $10,000 for every new home built in any municipality or township here — if state lawmakers agree.

        The impact fee would go to school districts to build more space for the increasing numbers of students, commissioners Mike Kilburn and Larry Crisenbery said Tuesday.

        The county's half-dozen districts have struggled to keep up with the flood of newcomers in the past decade, prompting frequent tax levies that spread the cost among all residents.

        “The people who have lived here (for decades) have pulled the wagon long enough,” said Mr. Kilburn, a fourth-generation county resident. “... I'm looking at more of a fairness issue than a revenue-generating issue.”

        The county has among the highest fees in Greater Cincinnati for new-home water and sewer hookups, at $4,800 in the townships and $6,240 in Mason.

        The commissioners are waiting to see if school leaders are aboard before asking the General Assembly for a law allowing the school impact fee. School officials are still chewing on the idea.

        “If you don't have a whole lot of housing developments, it's not going to matter much,” said David Query, superintendent of Kings Local Schools. The 3,600-student district is only adding about 50 students a year, he said.

        An extra $250,000 to $500,000 annually would help, he said, but added: “I don't want people to think that with this impact fee there's not going to be a need for tax levies.”

        Growth has been stronger in the Mason and Little Miami districts, with Mason at 6,700 students this year and adding about 600 annually.

        State Rep. Tom Raga, R-Deerfield Township, said he's waiting to see a proposal from commissioners before forming an opinion.


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