The Flagler County School Board unanimously passed a resolution requesting an increased impact fee schedule for the County Commission to consider as early as its next meeting on Feb. 21.
Developers pay school impact fees on new homes based on projected student growth to help fund school construction. The new impact fee schedule would begin on Sept. 1 this year. The requested increases are significantly lower than the school district’s request in August, which would have doubled impact fees on single-family homes. The current rate has stood since 2004.
After delaying a vote in November, the commission — which has the final say on the district’s impact fee requests — requested the district meet with county staff and the Flagler Home Builders Association to work out an agreement. The HBA had questioned the school district’s growth study and judged the requested increase to be too steep.
The School Board passed the resolution at a special meeting on Feb. 9. The resolution states that the “working group,” made up of district and county staff and members of the HBA, have agreed to a phased-in impact fee schedule and that the HBA “has agreed to support the impact fees recommended by the working group.”
But Mark Langello, the president of the Home Builders Association, said the HBA is still negotiating with the school district on some issues he says are interrelated to the impact fee request.
He said the HBA and the district have not come to a complete consensus, but they are close. He also said the parties were asked to keep the discussions under wrap, and the HBA was honoring that request. Langello said he is not part of the working group.
School Board Chair Trevor Tucker said on Feb. 10 that he was not aware that the HBA was not in total agreement with the resolution.
“My understanding was everybody was happy.”
TREVOR TUCKER, School Board Chair
“My understanding was everybody was happy,” Tucker said. “We (passed) the resolution based on a recommendation from the superintendent. County staff was there to see if the resolution was passed, so they could put it on (the commission’s) agenda.”
The School Board’s resolution calls for raising impact fees on new single-family homes from $3,600 to $5,450, multi-family homes from $931 to $1,360 and mobile homes from $1,066 to $2,150.
The fees could increase annually based upon the district’s student growth as of the October FTE date, which is when the state reports its annual survey count of students for full-time equivalent funding. An enrollment increase of 500 students in the district would result in an increase in the impact fees of $500 for single-family homes, $125 for multi-family homes and $850 for mobile homes. If the enrollment increases by 1,000, then those impact fee increases would double.
“If all of a sudden we had 1,000 new students, that’s going to mean a full-court press (to increase school capacities).”
CATHY MITTELSTADT, Flagler Schools Superintendent
School Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt told the board, “If all of a sudden we had 1,000 new students, that’s going to mean a full-court press (to increase school capacities).”
The school district’s enrollment total on Oct. 15, 2021 was 12,275 students.
If an increase in impact fees is necessary based on annual enrollment figures, it would take effect on June 1 each year, beginning in 2023, according to the resolution.
Before the board members voted 5-0 to pass the resolution and send it to the county, board member Colleen Conklin questioned why the new fee schedule would begin Sept. 1, and not 90 days from adoption, which is the minimum notice required.
District staff member Patty Bott said the working group had agreed to the Sept. 1 date.