Lee County looking for money to help public services - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee County looking for money to help public services

April 13, 2004

Lee County- You don't have to look far to find home construction in Lee County.

Up to 1,000 people move to the county every year. That keeps builders busy nailing up new homes.

"When I started about 21 years ago, we were building smaller houses here than what were in Dougherty County," said home builder Tommy Jowers.

That's not the case any more. The homes keep getting bigger and people are demanding high end accessories like stainless steel appliances and hard wood floors. But it's getting harder for county and city governments to provide all the services people need. So Lee County, Leesburg and Smithville leaders are looking at impact fees to help with the problem.

"The theory behind an impact fee is that you charge new development their fare share cost of maintaining that level of service that you're already providing," said Lee County Administrator Langford Holbrook.

Other counties in Georgia with a lot of new development use the fee. It's just that most of those counties are near Atlanta, and not South Georgia.

"In the metro area where maybe all five core counties do, you can't just jump across the county line and get out of it. Here you could, so those are the kinds of things they're going to have to weigh as they make that decision," Holbrook said.

Leaders are only considering the idea of impact fees right now. But as one of the fastest growing counties in the state, something will eventually have to be done.

"When you get into that arena, you get into playing catch up with your governmental services and your infrastructure trying to catch up with your growth," Jowers said.

After all, Lee County leaders want people to move here. They just want to be able to provide them with quality services.

posted at 11:01 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com