Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commissioner pushes a rival economic stimulus plan

BROOKSVILLE — County Commissioner Jeff Stabins has an idea for stimulating Hernando County's economy, and it doesn't involve cutting impact fees.

The County Commission on Tuesday will discuss a proposal by local builders and business leaders to reduce impact fees by 25 percent for the next 18 months. The action will give the county access to a onetime-only pot of $20-million for affordable housing initiatives.

Stabins says there is no need to cut impact fees to provide first-time homeowners the down payment assistance they need. Another $20-million in funding to accomplish that is already accessible to Hernando, but only eight residents tried for the funding last year.

Stabins wants that program to be better advertised and has invited a SunTrust Bank employee who works with the program to Tuesday's meeting.

During that discussion, he plans to pitch his idea to stimulate the economy by using the $1.8-million currently available through the State Housing Initiatives Program for qualifying low-income residents to fix up their homes using no-interest loans.

Calling his program the Housing Enhancement Loan Program, or HELP, Stabins sees the plan as a good way to put local tradespeople idled by the stagnant building market back to work.

Through the Property Appraiser's Office, Stabins has identified 120 Hernando properties with homes valued at $30,000 or less. His plan is to contact these homeowners and ask them if they are interested in seeking the loans.

The income qualification is $19,800 for a single person, half the median county salary. The cap per house for repairs is $35,000.

"It would not only help the people in these homes get them repaired, but it would help the neighborhood to look better, and it would put the carpenters, the tradesmen, the plasterers, the bricklayers back to work,'' Stabins said. "We could help people right away by having them do five or six homes a month.''

His plan is similar to one that is being touted by one of his opponents in the upcoming Aug. 26 Republican primary election.

Michael Burmann, who has been working as an inspector with the My Safe Florida Home program, has suggested using the SHIP funds or another source to improve the storm worthiness of Hernando homes.

Stabins said he hopes commissioners are willing to hear alternatives to cutting impact fees because the $1-million to $2-million loss in fees would hurt the county's efforts to keep up with its infrastructure needs.

He said his plan will accomplish the stimulus without hurting the county.

"The builders said they were looking for something symbolic,'' he said. "This is symbolic and then some.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando commissioner pushes a rival economic stimulus plan 08/02/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2008 2:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The Daystarter: Gov. Scott vetoes 'Whiskey and Wheaties Bill'; Culpepper's fate in 'Survivor' finale; to catch a gator poacher; your 2017 Theme Park Guide


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  2. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more


    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]
  3. Take 2: Some fear Tampa Bay Next transportation plan is TBX redux


    TAMPA — For many, Wednesday's regional transportation meeting was a dose of deja vu.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. But the plan remains the same: spend $60 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area interstates that are currently free of tolls. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  4. Hailed as 'pioneers,' students from St. Petersburg High's first IB class return 30 years later


    ST. PETERSBURG — The students came from all over Pinellas County, some enduring hot bus rides to a school far from home. At first, they barely knew what to call themselves. All they knew was that they were in for a challenge.

    Class of 1987 alumni Devin Brown, from left, and D.J. Wagner, world history teacher Samuel Davis and 1987 graduate Milford Chavous chat at their table.
  5. Flower boxes on Fort Harrison in Clearwater to go, traffic pattern to stay


    I travel Fort Harrison Avenue in Clearwater often and I've noticed that the travel lanes have been rerouted to allow for what looks like flower boxes that have been painted by children. There are also a few spaces that push the travel lane to the center that have no boxes. Is this a permanent travel lane now? It …