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County moves forward on impact fees
Bryan County seal 2016

Bryan County commissioners took their first step Tuesday night to establish impact fees for developers building in the unincorporated portion of the county.

According to County Administrator Ben Taylor, the fees would be charged on new residential construction and would seek to recoup some of the associated costs that come with new developments.

Those costs or impacts include, for example, additional demands on existing water and sewer facilities, recreational capabilities, parks and streets.

Commissioners held a first reading of the impact fee ordinance at their regularly scheduled November meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the Home Builders Association of Greater Savannah, Mike Vaquer said he welcomed the opportunity for the organization, which also represents Bryan County builders, to be part of the planning process for implementing the fees, which he called inevitable.

He said he received numerous phone calls from his clients when they heard the impact fee ordinance was scheduled to be considered and was under the impression the new ordinance would be in place by late summer next year.

Taylor disagreed with that timeline after Commissioner Brad Brookshire told Vaquer he was under the impression that the second reading and passage of the ordinance would take place at the commissioners’ December meeting.

Vaquer said there were a number of legal hoops to jump through and he doubted that the ordinance could be passed that quickly.

In other business, representative from the accounting firm Lanier, Deal & Proctor presented the fiscal 2016 county audit and told commissioners that the county was in sound financial shape and that, overall, the county's revenues kept pace with its liabilities.

A copy of the audit is available at county offices for review, Taylor said.

Kay Proctor told the commissioners that the accounting firm found three discrepancies during their review. Generally, Proctor said, the findings dealt with the way the county reconciled bank statements, accounted for year-end accruals for the county's financial statement and the management of some grant funds.

Proctor said the conversion by the county to new accounting software led to the discrepancies and that she was sure that as county employees continued to familiarize themselves with the software, the problems would be resolved.

Taylor agreed with Proctor's assessment that the software conversion contributed to the findings and that the problems noted by Proctor had already been taken care of. In addition, Taylor called the turnover of staff in the finance department as a contributory factor in the findings.   

Sandra Elliott was named as the south Bryan representative to the Bryan County Library Board. The commissioners picked Elliott from a group of three people under consideration for the spot. Elliott was at the meeting and said she was looking forward to serving.

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