The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that the Granite School District is not exempt from paying a Salt Lake County flood control fee, a decision that will allow local governments to assess impact fees against school districts.

The high court's unanimous ruling means that the Granite School District must pay the county more than $108,000 in drainage fees assessed for three schools built after the ordinance creating the fees took effect in 1982.It also means that school districts statewide will be subject to impact fees imposed by local governments, just as the developers of private property are.

Granite officials had argued the drainage fee was actually a local assessment, not an impact fee. Under state law, school districts are exempted from paying local assessments as well as "general and special taxation."

The county claimed the drainage fee is an impact fee, defined in the opinion as "charges levied by local governments against new development in order to generate revenue for capital funding necessitated by the new development."