While the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a strong economic blow to Williamson County, with more than 3,770 residents receiving unemployment compared to early March numbers of just over 250, new residential development hasn’t slowed much at all compared to last year.
During the Williamson County Commission meeting this week, the county’s finance manager Phoebe Reilly revealed that fees associated with new development received during the month of July were only marginally lower than they were in March of 2019.
For new residential development, the county collects from developers an Education Impact Fee and privilege tax, the latter of which includes things like Adequate Facilities Tax and Adequate School Facilities Tax.
Reilly relayed that in July of 2020, the county netted $1.86 million in net collections for the Education Impact Fee. In July of 2019, the county netted $1.83 million in net collections for the Education Impact Fee, a difference of just over $26,000.
In privilege tax, the county collected $1.29 million in revenue in July, 2020, whereas July of 2019 saw $1.3 million — a difference of only $11,025.
“All in all, we have been watching the privilege tax numbers as well as the education impact fee numbers, and you can see [that] even with the economic condition as it is, we are very happy to see that the numbers have only dropped very slightly in the last year,” Reilly said.
Education Impact Fee
Going into effect back in early 2017, the Education Impact Fee saw an additional tax levied against new residential development based on square-footage. The fee was designed to help the county afford the construction of new schools, something county leaders have argued is in part due to the influx of new homes being constructed.
A group of nine Tennessee developers sued the county in September of 2017, claiming the fee to be illegal - a Franklin judge ruled the fee to be legal in early 2019, and upheld that decision after an appeal in March of 2020.
As of September 14, Williamson County has collected $60,696,204 from the Education Impact Fee, $20,068,576 of which had been paid by developers under protest.
Of the total amount collected, $20,068,576 has been earmarked for new school construction, leaving the county with a net collection from the fee of $40,627,627.