The Newnan City Council unanimously approved changes to their impact fees during their meeting on Tuesday.
The changes were approved without much discussion during the meeting and concern one-time fees that are paid upon the construction of new facilities, either residential or commercial, to mitigate the impact caused by the new construction.
The change has seen a reduction in a number of impact fees levied by the city.
Impact fees are levied on new construction of buildings of all sorts in Newnan, like other cities in Georgia, based on the building’s impact on municipality-owned services such as parks, public safety, water, sewer and other items.
The fees, according to Newnan assistant city manager Hasco Craver, are based on those city-owned services continuing to provide the same level of service it provided before the new construction. The city has levied impact fees since 2004.
“The whole program is designed to maintain that level of service,” Craver said last week.
Impact fee revenue, Craver said, is not high compared to the rest of the city’s budget. Craver said that in the 2020 budget, the city took in $867,000 in impact fees and $530,000 in 2021. How much the city receives in impact fees depends entirely on new construction within the city limits.
For instance, the city would charge $1,136.07 in an impact fee for a single-family residence, dropped to $1,110.81, a 2.2 percent decrease.
The city has projected even larger decreases for facilities such as general office buildings, industrial facilities and automobile dealerships.
According to city documents, a 1,000-square-foot general office building would see its impact fee drop from $485.26 to $348.32, a 28.2 percent decrease. An 11,000-square-foot facility that saw “heavy industrial use” would have its impact fee drop from $2,681.08 to $1,723.37, a 35.7 percent drop, while a 30,000-square-foot automobile dealership would have its impact fee drop from $18,560.06 to $15,950.61, a 14.1 percent decrease.
How are impact fees calculated?
Impact fees, according to the city’s comprehensive plan documents, are based on projected housing units for the next 20 years, total cost of remaining impact fee-eligible projects, fees already collected plus interest earned and SPLOST credit.
For instance, for residential housing units, the parks and recreation fee per unit is $776.18 and is the bulk of the impact fee for residences.
That $776.18 is calculated by taking $5,853,099, the total cost of remaining impact fee-eligible parks and recreation projects, subtracting $1,218,507 — the impact fees already collected, plus interest earned, through May 2021, and dividing that by 5,971, the projected housing unit difference between 2021 and 2041.
A 3 percent administrative fee is added, making the final residential impact fee $799.47.
The fire impact fee, as another example, is $67.43. That is calculated by taking $3,800,000, the total cost of remaining impact fee-eligible fire service projects, subtracting $727,530.61, the impact fees already collected, plus interest earned, through May 2021, and dividing that by what is considered the “functional population difference” from 2021 to 2041, which according to the city is 45,563.
Adding a 3 percent administrative fee makes the final impact fee $69.45 per person. According to city documents, that $69.45 is not the final impact fee per household built. Instead, the city multiplies that by 2.8 — the projected average household size for the period 2021-2041, to get $194.46.
For commercial units, the fire fee is then multiplied by a formula devised by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, based on the number of square footage of a structure to determine the number of employees that would work there.
For roads, streets and bridges, the impact fee is calculated by trips generated by the structure, projected over the course of the next 20 years.
The final fee per trip is $12.28. It is calculated by taking $6,300,000, the total cost of remaining impact fee-eligible roads, streets and bridges, subtracting $470,198.08, the impact fees already collected plus interest earned through May 2021 and then dividing that by 515,134, the total amount of trips projected over the course of the next 20 years, then adding a 3 percent administrative fee.
The final impact road fees for residences and commercial applications are then calculated based on the number of trips per day generated by that facility. These are based on formulas that have projected trips per day for these facilities per thousand square feet or other units of measure.
For instance, a 1,000-square-foot sit-down restaurant would have a projected 127.15 trips per day, producing a road impact fee of $1,515.63 before administrative costs.