Realtors and home builders in Williamson County are pushing back against a proposed tax on new home construction. The plan aims to raise revenue for schools in the county—which is expected to double its population in the next 15 years.
Williamson County says it needs the additional revenue to curb its debt and prepare for a future of many more students.
Todd Kaestner is the county commissioner who spearheaded the so-called Impact Fee, a one-time payment on new residential construction. He says the county needs nearly a billion dollars to accommodate the roughly 11,000 more students expected to enter the system in the coming years. Last year the county raised property taxes by 15.5 percent. The impact fee is an alternative to slapping residents with yet another tax increase.
“The public really thinks that the newcomers really ought to share some of the burden they are creating,” Kaestner says.
But builders and realtors are pushing back, saying the impact fee is unfair and calling on the state attorney general to review the proposal. David Logan, the president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors, says everyone in the county benefits from the stellar schools so everyone in the county should pay for them.
“We just don’t think impact fees are the way to do it because they are pushing it off onto one sector of the economy and it’s the whole county that benefits from our schools and the whole county has been paying for the schools so far,” Logan says. “And we just think that is how it ought to be done. That is the fair way to do it.”
The proposed one-time tax on new home construction ranges from nearly $3,000 to $11,000, depending on square footage.
The Williamson County Commissioners will be discussing the Impact Fee at Monday's meeting.