School board wants $6,411 growth fee

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By Jesef Williams

School district personnel have suggested a figure that they think residential developers should pay to help cope with growth in the county.

Tony Walker, Lancaster County School District's financial director, presented the school board Tuesday with a fee of $6,411 for each new home developers build.

Members of Lancaster County school board and County Council make up a six-person committee that has been discussing how much they would want developers to pay to help deal with growth in the county.

Officials say the payments would help pay for growth. Future schools and renovating existing ones are chief concerns.

Walker used a formula that looked at the cost to build a new school, the average number of students at a school and the average number of students per home.

The board voted 6-0 Tuesday night to present the figure to the growth committee for further discussion.

Board member Mary Etta Taylor was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

"It will help," said school board member Don McCorkle, who serves on the committee. "Will it totally build a school? No. It's a more than fair number because the total impact (of more people moving to the area) is going to be greater than that."

County Councilman Bryan Vaughn, who also serves on the growth committee, says he looks forward to hearing a detailed presentation about the breakdown of numbers and how officials arrived at that fee.

After the committee has agreed on the amount, County Council will consider it.

"I think this will help County Council move toward a final number," Vaughn said. "I think it's important we come up with a formula we can use to apply to new homes. We need to be banking some money for new schools and renovations."

The committee plans to meet again toward the end of this month or early November. Vaughn would like for County Council to vote on a proposed fee by the end of 2007.

"This is the most progress we've ever made in the area," he said. "Now we've got some numbers to work with. This is the first step to a long-term solution."

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