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New Ipswich

Town returns $90K in fees

NEW IPSWICH — Residents who have paid impact fees for new developments in the past five years will be repaid, as the Select Board decided Tuesday to return more than $90,000 following a vote this March did away with the fee altogether.

During March’s ballot voting , voters supported the repeal of impact fees for new developments. Resident Troy Matson submitted the warrant article by petition, and it passed overwhelmingly in a 697 to 281 vote. The intent of the article was to make housing more affordable, according to the petition.

New Ipswich adopted impact fees in 2008. The fees were used to pay for all or a portion of the cost of providing public services to new development, and were also used to support the local schools or public road improvements, among other thing.

The average cost of an impact fee for a single-story house in New Ipswich was about $6,250, said Select Board Chair George Lawrence in a phone interview Wednesday.

At a Select Board meeting Tuesday, Town Administrator Roberta Fraser informed the board that the town had approximately $92,000 in impact fees collected over the course of the five years the town had the active fee. Since implementing the fee, the town has not used a large amount of the collected fees. Approximately $4,000 from the fees were used to purchase fuel tanks for the now-abandoned Building No. 2, but the majority of the funds were left untouched.

Select Board member Mike Conlin said that since the town was no longer collecting impact fees, and there are no current applicable projects planned, he would like to see the money refunded. Select Board member Ben Cargill agreed.

Approximately 15 people have paid impact fees over the years, and another three or four residents owe impact fees that they will no longer be obligated to pay, Lawrence said. The board agreed to reimburse residents who paid impact fees for new developments, including the interest since payment was made, since the fees’ establishment in 2008. Lawrence said the Select Board did not yet have a plan on how to compensate for the spent $4,000, but it will likely come from the general fund.

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