By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — The town will not collect any impact fees until an audit of the fee program is completed.
Melanson, Heath and Company of Nashua is finishing up its forensic audit of Londonderry’s impact fee structure and system.
The firm was hired in January to do an audit, following a ruling by Rockingham Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling after Londonderry officials sought guidance for an impact fee situation where more than $1.2 million in fees were collected erroneously or not spent within the required six-year time frame.
Impact fees are collected for Londonderry’s schools, library, recreation programs, and police and fire departments.
Town attorney Michael Ramsdell recommended impact fee collections be put on hold until after the audit is done.
He said the audit should be finished by early April and a complete report will then be available.
Last June, the town announced it would make significant changes in the way it handled the fees collected from property owners and developers.
Shortly after, former Town Manager David Caron resigned. Town Council Chairman John Farrell said at that time that it was advisable “for Mr. Caron and the town to sever their relationship,” but never directly placed blame on Caron for the impact fee problems.
Hart took over as interim manager once Caron left the job and soon after announced the town would refund more than $1.2 million in impact fees.
The audit is looking at fees collected and the process dating back to 1994, when the town’s program was put in place.
“It is prudent at this time to suspend the impact fee program while auditors finish up their work,” Ramsdell said, “so a full report can be made to Council and to the court.”