Sunday, June 24, 2018
Opinion

Impact fee delay hurts Hernando economy

Editor's note: Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn, a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, delivered these remarks to Hernando commissioners April 23, the day the commission delayed for at least another year, restoring impact fees for transportation improvements. The comments are edited for length and clarity.

As most of you are probably aware, the current city council inherited quite a backlog of infrastructure transportation needs for our city. And, we've been pecking away at that list for the last five years. According to the consultant that we hired, the city of Brooksville is looking at $21 million just to bring our roads and sidewalks up to a 60 percent standard. Twenty one million dollars. On top of that we're going to need about $1.3 million just to fix our current inventory of sidewalks, another $1.2 million to rehab our brick streets.

That's quite a lot for a city of five square miles and, you know, has a general fund of about $7 million. I bring that up because I received word that the county commission opted to reject a consultant's plan for impact fees — a plan that was endorsed by every stakeholder who attended the workshops on that issue.

I try not to interfere with discussions that are the sole discretion of the county commission, but this decision ... directly affects city taxpayers.

When developers are not invited to share the cost of new growth impacts, every taxpayer in the county, including those who reside in the city of Brooksville, are forced to pay the bill for new growth. I understand (the county staff) just completed a capital needs plan that calls for millions and millions of dollars in the general fund money, supported by city taxpayers as well, to be spent on maintaining just our existing infrastructure. And that doesn't even begin to address the county's overall transportation need. Last I checked, it was well over $120 million.

Now, you add the costs of new impacts ... and I just have to keep asking, "How are we going to pay for that?'' And, come fall, we're going to be competing heavily with Citrus County for state road dollars as well. How do we pay for what we already have?

I attended those stakeholders meetings, as representing the city and the MPO, and those who actually listened to the stark reality presented in that report by our consultants, they understood and they accepted the need for impact fees. And they unanimously, unanimously, supported the consultant's recommendation.

They also unanimously endorsed a need for an exclusive sales tax increase for transportation only. Now, I don't know if that's the answer or not, but something needs to be done to protect what we already have. And, I don't have all the answers to that, I admit, but I would respectfully ask that the county commission take another look at that issue. Because, the bottom line is, without a significant increase in county taxes at this point, which I don't think any of us want, and which also are paid by city taxpayers who pay county taxes, the existing transportation needs that we have cannot be met. And, without decent roads and walkable communities, people won't move here and new businesses certainly won't come here and there will be no jobs to employ those that are already here.

This is an economic issue. I would respectfully ask the county commission look at the information that staff has tucked away and just look at the full picture and see what we can do to address those needs.

Comments
Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Chances are, Iíll go down as the Boy Who Cried Flood.You might have noticed, Iíve been shouting about the imminent calamity of flood waters for quite a few years now. If I wasnít trying to frighten you into buying flood insurance, I was worrying you ...
Published: 06/22/18
Column: Three lessons from Trumpís immigration fiasco

Column: Three lessons from Trumpís immigration fiasco

Even though President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reversing his policy of separating families who immigrated illegally at the border, the shards are still being reassembled.We still donít know whatís happening with the 2,300 children a...
Published: 06/22/18
Trump toxins are making the truth meaningless

Trump toxins are making the truth meaningless

On Fatherís Day last week, the highest-paid employee of Washington State University tweeted out a video of a 2014 speech by Barack Obama that was altered to make him sound like a one-world-government tyrant.When called on the fraud, Mike Leach, the h...
Published: 06/22/18
Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundationís free supplies

Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundationís free supplies

We have all heard stories about public school teachers reaching into their own pockets so their students will have basic classroom supplies.It goes on throughout the system because budgets are tight. The money allotted for pencils, markers, notebooks...
Published: 06/22/18
Column: We can still save wild Florida, but time for panthers, black bears and us is running out

Column: We can still save wild Florida, but time for panthers, black bears and us is running out

When we dipped our paddles into Florida Bay at the mangrove fringe of Everglades National Park and took the first strokes of the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, I’m not sure I fully understood the scope of the challenge we were facin...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Countries are constantly competing for the most talented workers and, according to the best available immigration statistics, the United States has been winning.The United States is home to just 4.4 percent of the worldís population, but in 2010, it ...
Published: 06/21/18