|County saving by charging developers plat
application fees |
Texas State Legislature House Bill 2931 enabling counties to impose an application fee to cover the cost of the county's review of a subdivision plat and inspection of street, road, and drainage improvements described by the plat has saved Comal County taxpayers nearly $322,000 in the last two years.
Precinct #3 Commissioner Jay Millikin is credited with working diligently with state legislators to improve the authority of Texas counties in the management of subdivision development since he took office in 1999.
Millikin finally succeeded in 2003 with the passage of HB2931.
As of September 1, 2003, the county has the authority to charge a plat application fee to developers to defray the costs of review incurred by the county engineer's office.
According to this newer section of the Local Government Code, the fee may vary based on the number of proposed lots in the subdivision, the acreage described by the plat, the type or extent of proposed street and drainage improvements, or any other reasonable criteria determined by the commissioners court.
Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth reported that in 2004 the plat application fees charged to developers before the county's review of plats, raised $155,700 for the county. Fees for 2005 generated $166,100.
The two year total of $321,800 reimbursed the county for administrative expenses related to subdivision development; that amount is a direct savings for taxpayers.
According to Millikin, cities have a lot more tools to prudently manage subdivision growth and development without taxpayer input.
Until 2005, the state considered unincorporated areas to be farming and ranching areas, but for some counties, like Comal, the reality of rural land usage is subdivision growth.
Millikin is continuing to work with state legislatures so Texas counties would have the authority to impose an impact fee to land developers.
An impact fee translates into percentage reimbursements, from the developer to the county, for upgrades and improvements the county has made to roads, streets and drainage areas.
The impact fee would compensate the county for the additional people who would be expected to use the roads or benefit from the drainage improvements.
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