Fort Mill School District
2233 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29715
P: (803) 548-2527 | F: (803) 547-4696

Impact Fee 101
Impact Fee 101
Posted on 05/15/2018

What is an Impact Fee?

An impact fee is a fee that is imposed by a local government on a new or proposed development project to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to the new development. These fees are collected on new construction only. These fees are designed for new development to help pay for the higher cost associated with the expansion of the community, such as the need for new schools to accommodate new students.

Impact Fee Facts
Under South Carolina Law:

Basic legal requirements are need, benefit, and proportionality.

Must spend funds within 3 years of scheduled construction date.

Publish an Annual Monitoring Report.

Review and update every 5 years.

Fee changes require an updated study.

Requires an analysis of the effect on affordable housing in the district.


Impact Fee History

In 1996 the York County school districts were giving the option to institute an impact fee on new construction homes. The Fort Mill School District was the only district to move forward with implementation of the fee. At that time, a study was conducted to estimate the growth and determine the amount of the fee. The study projected that the district would need 1.68 new elementary schools, 0.86 new middle schools, and 0.66 new high schools by the year 2020. The fee was set at $2500 per dwelling. (Since that time, the district has actually constructed 7 new elementary schools, 5 new middle schools, and 2 new high schools prior to 2020 with 3 more recently approved.)

Shortly after the impact fee was implemented the State passed legislation that did not allow the creation of any new impact fees. The legislation did allow the new fee implemented by the district to continue to be collected but did not allow for any modification of the fee.

In 2016 the state passed the South Carolina Development Impact Fee Act (State law Title 6, Article 9, Section 6-1-910) that again allowed counties to implement impact fees on new development.

In the fall of 2017 the Fort Mill School District presented information to the county detailing the need for an increase in the impact fees collected due to the growth in the district. The district, in conjunction with the county, has recently completed a study to assess the need for an impact fee in our area with the nationally recognized TichserBise firm. The study has shown that based on the growth in our area and under the statutes of the new law, a maximum allowable impact fee of $18,158 for single family homes and $12,020 per unit for multifamily dwellings is recommended for implementation. The study presentation and the resolution passed by the school board are linked below.

Click here to view resolution. 

Click here to view presentation. 

The study was recently presented to the York County Planning Commission. On May 14, the commission voted to approve an ordinance and recommendation to be considered by the York County Council. Despite the information provided in the study and under pressure from the Home Builder's Association, the commission's ordinance includes a fee of only $5,038 per dwelling. This fee amount is at the same level as the original study completed in 1996 prior to the explosion of growth experienced in our area.

Growth In Our Area

The growth in the Fort Mill School District has far exceeded the original estimates of the 1996 study. The district’s student population has grown at an average annual rate of 6% from 5,929 students in 2002 to more than 15,000 in 2018. This is the highest rate of growth per capita in our state. In order to deal with the rapid growth in certain areas of the district, enrollment freezes have been placed on schools who's student population is exceeding the capacity. Our community has continued to support the the district by passing $653.3 million in bonds to build or expand schools since 1996 to accommodate the growth. 


Tax Implications

The passage of the impact fee could have a large effect on the residential and commercial tax payers. Depending on the amount of the fee approved by the County Council, tax payers are could see up to a 54% reduction in their current debt service tax assessments. The money collected from the impact fees will go directly toward building projects, resulting in a debt millage reduction for tax payers. Below are examples of these reductions based on recent debt service tax assessments for local businesses, residential homes and vehicles.

Tax Reduction Examples

Click here to enter your assessment values to see how the new impact fee could decrease your taxes based on the amount approved. (These are just estimates on the debt service portion of your tax assessment.)

Click here to visit the York County Treasurer & Finance website to search for your tax information.

Next Steps

Below is the timeline for the York County County Council meetings that will determine the implementation of the impact fee. We strongly encourage our residents and business owners in the Fort Mill School District to show their support for a fee more in line with the information presented in the study by contacting the council members and attending the public hearing listed below.

Meeting Schedule

May 21Council First Reading of County General Impact Fee and FMSD Impact Fee ordinances. 6th S. Congress Street, York, SC, 6:00 p.m.

June 27Council Second Reading and Public Hearings for County General Impact Fee and FMSD Impact Fee ordinances.  McCelvey Center 212 E. Jefferson Street, York, SC 6:00 p.m.

July 16Council Third Reading for County General Impact Fee and FMSD Impact Fee ordinances.  6th S. Congress Street, York, SC 6:00 p.m.

If the third reading vote passes the County Council, the impact fee will be implemented on new construction in the district.

To visit the York County Council's website, click here.

York County Council Members

Michael Johnson
District 1

Allison Love
District 2

Robert Winkler
District 3

William "Bump" Roddey
District 4

Christi Cox
District 5

Britt Blackwell
District 6

Chad Williams
District 7

Community Support

Click here to read a proclamation from the Town of Fort Mill supporting the impact fee increase. 

Click here to read a resolution from the City of Tega Cay supporting the impact fee increase. 

In the News

Who will help pay more for new Fort Mill schools and how much?

'High as they'll let us go': Why Fort Mill's pitch to pay for schools may be too low. 

CN2 News: Carolina Connection (begins at 12:50)

Debate is underway. Now it's your turn, as sides are taken on Fort Mill school fees.