Henry County to use excess impact fees for capital improvement projects as growth continues unabated in metro Atlanta's second-fastest growing community. LEON STAFFORD/AJC
Photo: LEON STAFFORD/AJC
Photo: LEON STAFFORD/AJC

Henry to tackle capital improvements needs with developer impact fees 

Henry County will soon begin using some of the impact fees it collects from developers for capital improvement projects instead of letting the money build up in bank accounts.

Municipalities generally charge developers impact fees to offset the costs governments bear for the infrastructure updates that often accompany new construction, such as wider roads, more sewage capacity and sometimes schools. 

But Henry, which began collecting impact fees in 2003,  dedicated some of the fees to paying down bond debt. That restriction prohibited the county from using the money for any other purpose, even when the the debt has been retired, assistant county manager Brad Johnson told the Henry County Commission recently.

For instance, Henry has a surplus of about $2 million in a fund dedicated to reducing recreation debt. That money has built up because the associated bonds have long been repaid.

The Henry Commission earlier this month passed a resolution allowing the county to more freely use the fees after lifting restrictions that had tied the money to paying off specific debts.

“A few of our line items for impact fees have been designated only for debt reduction,” Johnson said. “Since the recession, there have been times where debt reduction has been less than the amount collected and I’m talking about our recreation fees.”

Henry is relaxing the restrictions on its impact fees as Stockbridge,  the county’s largest city, is considering imposing them for the first time. 

Henry leaders said the change will allow them to disperse funds to a list of capital improvement projects the county plans to introduce this week. Each of the county’s five districts will receive an equal portion.

“There is more oversight if we know if the money is split evenly and we know where it’s going,” said Commissioner Dee Clemmons. 

 

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