ZEBULON — Legislation filed in the state House would allow the Town of Zebulon to spend as much as it wants from developers’ fees to pay for individual road, open space and recreation projects.
Zebulon’s charter only allows the town to spend up to 50 percent of the fees it collects from developers for a single capital project. The fees must also be used within six years of the time they are deposited, or the town has to refund the fees plus interest.
But under House Bill 1147, filed in May, the charter would be amended to strike the funding limit. The town would also get 10 years from the time of collection to use the fees for different projects.
“Ensuring the town will have access to enough time and funding to complete the list of projects is the main goal of House Bill 1147,” Zebulon planner Julie Spriggs said. “There is not any one project that would gain priority if HB 1147 passes, but it does ensure the likelihood there will be enough time and enough funding to complete projects before the funds expire and have to be returned.”
In addition to the town’s backing, Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny said the Wake County legislative delegation unanimously supports the bill. The primary sponsors are Rep. Darren Jackson, a Knightdale Democrat; and Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake Forest Republican.
The bill was to have been reviewed Thursday by the House Government Committee. But it was pulled from the agenda, Matheny said, so that the development community could review the wording. Matheny said he expects the bill to move forward.
Fees are imposed on any development that requires a new building permit, including upfits to existing properties. Collected fees are placed into trust funds that are treated like bank accounts for projects throughout town.
Spriggs said the current 50 percent and six-year limits are too restrictive.
“By restricting the town to 50 percent of the funds for any one project, each project has the potential be delayed as we focus on raising matching funds from other sources,” she said. “With a timeline of six instead of 10 years, the long process to either apply for and receive grants or find other funding sources to supplement the cost will have projects quickly approaching the expire date leaving not much time to design and construct after funds are raised.”
Staff writer Aaron Moody contributed to this report.