County Commission favor Builders over Taxpayers

Four months ago the Republican leadership on the County Commission proposed a 25% reduction of impact fees for 18 months recommended by their economic committee which was dropped because of budget considerations. Now we have a Commission proposing a 50% cut in impact fees back to 2001 levels for a 12 month period. Same package different wrapping.

Here is a little history. Impact fees are the same as they were in 2005. The difference is that prior to 2005 builders were allowed to prepay impact fees and possibly avoid increases. This was taken away with Ordinance 2005-16 signed by the County Commissioner’s at which time there was a Democratic Majority. It gave builders 3 years to apply for building permits or their money could be refunded, after June 2, 2008 no interest would be paid on deposits. These changes in 2005 were to assist the county administrator in balancing his budget.

The new County Commission with a Republican Majority are now trying to reverse these positive steps by allowing builders and developers to prepay their impact fees at half the price adding to budget deficits in both the Hernando County School Board and Hernando County Government and are transferring the cost onto the Taxpayers of Hernando County, the employees of Hernando County and School system through future layoffs and budget shortfalls.

Let us not forget why our local economy has the highest unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area. Let us not forget the same people who accused the County Government of spending wildly are the same people who are looking for an impact fee cut. Let us not forget that it is the same people who want an impact fee cut who support the majority of the County Commissioners. Does this smell like special interest favoritism by our County Commissioners? Keep all of this in mind next year in November.

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