Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Dade City wise to end impact fee retreat

Dade City commissioners are correctly ending a two-year retreat on the city's transportation impact fees, a move that follows Pasco County's lead in restoring its impact fees for parks, libraries and public safety.

The city's initial motive in waiving the fees was to stimulate economic development and remain competitive with their neighbors. But Dade City wisely wants to again start preparing for its future road needs beyond the next few years. And the value of impact fees can be seen in an imperative, but still pending road project.

The extension of Morningside Drive from U.S. 301 to Fort King Road — providing an essential connector between the city's eastern and southern edges — is slowly moving from aspiration to asphalt. The eventual construction will be financed by past impact fee collections.

Impact fees, the one-time charges on new construction to help pay for the service demands caused by growth, have been scorned by the building and development industries since the fees' inception in the mid 1980s for roads, sewer and water lines, and later for schools, parks, libraries and public safety equipment.

Despite the worries, the fees never did kill the golden goose of residential home-building that provided the backbone of Pasco's economy. However, local governments across the state began cutting, then waiving the fees entirely in hopes of providing an economic stimulus after the real estate market collapsed in 2008.

Pasco County, for instance, waived its fees for parks, libraries, public safety and hurricane preparedness from 2011 until the end of 2013. But it wisely resisted the temptation and political pressure from the home-building community to do likewise for road and education fees. One county to the north, Hernando commissioners continue to freeze their school impact fee and declined a consultant's recommendation to adopt a higher transportation fee.

Dade City is smart to avoid such short-sightedness. Nearly two years ago, commissioners agreed to suspend the transportation fee of $5,223 per single-family home in an attempt to remain competitive with the county and the city of Zephyrhills. The county had recast its transportation charges as mobility fees that varied from $1,553 up to $9,312 depending on a home's size and location. Zephyrhills, meanwhile, charged $3,632 per home.

Since the moratorium started, the city has issued 53 residential permits and three for commercial buildings — meaning that Dade City forfeited more than $250,000 worth of road construction dollars. It's imprudent planning.

The commission is smart to end this experiment, update its data for a new fee, and be ready to adopt it in May when the moratorium officially ends. Trying to prepare for growth is more logical than trying to prolong economic gimmickry.

Comments
Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18