On April 15th, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr., presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget to the Baltimore County Council. The County Executive proposed several tax increases to balance the budget. While these are controversial, there is one area where there is broad agreement among many Councilmembers, community leaders and other residents: asking developers to pay more to advance projects.
For years, Baltimore County has been the one of the only jurisdictions in metropolitan Baltimore not to charge impact fees for new development. Impact fees help counties pay for schools, roads, and infrastructure needed because of growth. This year, the state legislature gave Baltimore County the authority to assess impact fees.
I am sponsoring legislation to implement impact fees for new residential construction in Baltimore County. These fees could help the county make up the revenue that was lost when the General Assembly failed to pass a major school construction aid package. Thanks to that failure, the Rossville Boulevard elementary school and Nottingham Middle School are delayed by at least a year.
The County Executive has proposed excise taxes on both residential and commercial construction. While money from an impact fee must be spent locally, the revenue from an excise tax can be used anywhere in Baltimore County. I have a real concern with new development in Perry Hall and Middle River paying for schools in other parts of the county.
Right now, because we do not have impact fees, taxpayers subsidize the cost of development. Your property taxes pay for the work associated with new homes and shopping centers. I believe it is fairer to assess developers and their customers instead of the rest of Baltimore County's population.
-Councilman David Marks (R-5)