The Long County Board of Commissioners canceled a public hearing which was scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, to discuss the potential implementation of impact fees. The hearing was cancelled “due to the insufficiency of proper public notification,” according to part-time interim county administrator Chuck Scragg.
Officials posted the cancellation notice on the Courthouse door, Scragg confirmed. He said the commission will instead hold a public hearing on the Long County - Ludowici Comprehensive Plan 2019-2039 at 6 p.m. Tuesday 2. A regular county commission meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.
Long County has been considering imposing fees as one way of controlling and paying for booming development in the county. The commissioners voted in early March to proceed with Phase II of impact fee implementation. One of the state requirements for impact fees is naming a committee of not more than 10 people to advise on the process as it moves forward.
“At the regular Long County Commission meeting, on April 2, the commissioners will take up appointing an advisory committee for the impact fee implementation process,” Scragg said. He estimates that a public hearing on impact fees might be held April 12, though a specific time for the meeting has not been set.
“There are two required public hearings for implementation by state law,” he said. Public hearings must be advertised in a government’s legal organ 14 days prior to the hearing date.
Scragg said commissioners will continue to discuss the implementation of impact fees and proposed projects at a commission work session scheduled for 10 a.m. April 12.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs states impact fees are one-time fees charged to land developers to help defray the costs of expanding capital facilities to serve new growth. The impact fee act was passed in 1990 and links measures like the Georgia Planning Act of 1989.
Consultant Bill Ross of Ross+ Associates provided the commission startup information for impact fees and has been working on Phase II.
The capital improvement plan being developed as part of the impact fee project would cost about $50 million over 20 years, county officials said. Ross said about $32 million of this could be covered by impact fees. A tax increase of 3.3 mills would be one alternative to impact fees.
Commissioners previously discussed a 49-page partial draft capital assessment with Ross, who authored the document. It projects Long County’s needs between now and the year 2040 and considers revenue to meet those needs.
The document composed by Ross projects future growth and what services will be needed in the future. The projections are used for considering future impact fees.
Examples of possible projects in the future include a new law enforcement center and a precinct in the Elim Church Road area, almost $14 million for road improvements, four new fire stations and replacement of current fire trucks, new fields and buildings for parks and recreation and other areas.