Baltimore County is looking under every sofa cushion for money to help close a projected $80 million budget shortfall next year.
That’s led Republican State Senator Chris West to propose that the state allow the county to charge developers impact fees.
West has introduced legislation in the State Senate to give Baltimore County the option to impose impact fees. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Delegates by Democratic Delegate Steve Lafferty.
West said the money would go towards paying for things like roads and schools impacted by a specific development.
“If there’s a big subdivision going up in Catonsville, the county could not take the impact fees from Catonsville and use it to work in Dundalk,” West said.
Some developers see it is an unfair tax for a specific industry. And West said it’s likely they would pass along the cost to people who buy new homes.
Republican County Councilman David Marks supports the idea, particularly since he would rather not raise taxes to get the county out of its financial hole.
“Before we ask citizens to pick up the costs through higher taxes, we need to be looking at ways to raise revenue in that manner,” Marks said.
Since much of Baltimore County’s developable land is already taken, it’s questionable how much money this would actually raise, and highly unlikely it would be enough to cover the county’s shortfall. But West said County Executive Johnny Olszewski should have every available option.
“Clearly the county executive is going to have to cut back as much spending as he possibly can, and that may not be enough to get us out of the financial hole the county’s in,” West said.
Olszewski supports the legislation according to Dori Henry, Olszewski’s Communications Director.
“The county executive considers impact fees to be another tool worth exploring given the county’s current fiscal situation, so he favors the county having the authority that the bill would provide,” Henry said.
Senator West’s legislation is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee February 20.