Pasco County school officials seek quick turnaround on impact fee proposal
A 10-member advisory committee will hold its first meeting March 29 to explore whether Pasco County commissioners should nearly double school impact fees for new home construction.
School Board members have asked for the increase to generate funding for new schools in areas with booming population, such as Trinity and Wesley Chapel. The board recently redrew attendance zones in those areas to help ease crowding in middle and high schools, which stand over 100 percent of capacity.
"I have requested an aggressive meeting schedule," deputy superintendent Ray Gadd said. "The goal is to have it come out of committee by early May."
Any recommendation would go to the County Commission, which likely would hold at least one workshop before drafting an ordinance and holding public hearings, all leading to a vote.
There could be some pushback against the district's request, if builders on the committee challenge the notion of increasing costs to their new homes. But early indications appear to signal that opposition to the higher fee is muted, with the acknowledgement that it's tough to sell new homes in areas where schools are overcrowded and no plans exist to build new ones.
The School Board recently approved purchase of land in Odessa for a new high school, but officials said they don't expect to have enough money to build for several years.
The committee members are Jennifer Doerfel, Tampa Bay Builders Association executive vice president; Stewart Gibbons, Gibbons Group president; Mike Ryan, homebuilder; Mark Spada, MI Homes; Scott Sheridan, Wiregrass Ranch; Gary Evans, Fluid Flow Products; Karen Knowlton, Tampa Type Print; Nicole Lewis, stay at home mom; Tim Sherrell, Pit Boss Barbecue; and Hugh Townsend, retired.
Half were appointed by the School Board, and half by the County Commission.