Glynn County’s finance committee recommended Tuesday the county commission approve a $76,450 contract with impact fee consultation firm Ross Associates to draw up plans and help implement development impact fees.

The finance committee makes recommendations to the county commission. It does not make final decisions on financial matters.

According to a draft of the proposed contract, the consultant would look at what it would take to implement both countywide impact fees and fees specifically for St. Simons and Sea islands.

Impact fees are imposed on developers to offset the cost of the public services or infrastructure needed to serve new development.

“Ross Associates’ services will include advice and assistance to Glynn County in general on impact fee matters, the preparation of an impact fee methodology report (including all impact fee calculations), preparation of a capital improvements element, the preparation of a final impact fee schedule for adoption, preparation of an impact fee ordinance conforming to all current state law requirements and assistance to staff in implementing the program,” the draft contract states.

According to the draft contract, revenue from impact fees would be set aside specifically for roads and bridges, stormwater drainage, flood control, bank and shore protection, parks, recreation areas and related facilities, public safety facilities and libraries, among other things.

If the contract is approved, Ross Associates would also help the commission create an impact fee advisory committee.

Advisory committees need to be composed of five to 10 members appointed by the county or municipality implementing impact fees, with at least half of the committee being “representatives from the development, building, or real estate industries,” according to the state code section dealing with advisory committees.

Further, the law states committees “shall serve in an advisory capacity to assist and advise the governing body of the municipality or county with regard to the adoption of a development impact fee ordinance.”

The consultant would also be responsible for, among other things, arranging a kickoff meeting and public hearings on the proposed fees, providing support to county staff for a year following the contract’s conclusion, assisting county staff members with drafting an impact fee ordinance and providing the systems needed to impose and collect impact fees.

County Planning Manager Stefanie Leif said Ross Associates have indicated it would take roughly six months to complete their tasks.

“We talked about these impact fees for a long time, and we’re probably way late in being able to address infrastructure, which we have to do at some point,” said committee member Bill Brunson.

The committee ultimately voted 3-0 to recommend the county commission approve the contract.

Brunson asked county staff members to put the item on the commission’s regular business agenda instead of the consent agenda, where most committee items go.

In other business, the committee recommended the county commission:

• Spend $224,280 on seven Dodge Charger cruisers and related equipment for the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office.

• Sign a $47,861 contract with the state and federal departments of transportation for “transit planning activities.” The federal DOT would cover $42,543 and the GDOT $5,318. The contract also requires a $5,318 local match split between the city of Brunswick and the county, which the county typically pays in “in-kind staff time.”

• Sign a $119,779 contract with the federal DOT for “transportation planning activities.” The county and city would have to contribute $23,956, which the county typically pays in “in-kind staff time.”

• Approve a $2,951 increase in the $2.55 million Brunswick-Glynn County Library renovation project to cover end-of-project work.

The county commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 5, while the finance committee’s is set for Sept. 24.

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