Go to impact fees before raising taxes
As the county is raising taxes and flat taxes in the 30-plus percent range, proposing imposing solid waste special assessments that almost triple current levels and proposing to raise the county sales tax, there has been no thought given to reinstating impact fees at necessary 2018 levels.
The county commissioners $0-rated impact fees for several years and now are offering them at bargain basement rates. The theory was that economic incentives were needed for local builders who suffered from the 2008 housing market collapse, and that tax increases would offset the revenue lost from the lower impact fees to pay for infrastructure supporting new developments, freeing up the county’s general fund for regular operating expenses.
But who is being subsidized due to the reduced impact fees? Yes, local builders are getting a subsidy, there also are at least five large, profitable corporations the taxpayers of Hernando County are subsidizing.
These national and regional corporations are building large developments in Hernando County, including Sterling Hill Phase III, Southern Hills, Trillium, Plantation Palms, Wellington, Avalon and Sherman Hills. As the large corporations’ bottom lines increase, Hernando County residents’ pockets are being picked.
For fiscal year 2018/2019, there is at least a $6 million shortfall in the budget due to mismanagement and lack of fiscal oversight. It is obvious to everyone but the County Commissioners that taxes have not replaced the need for impact fees. It is also obvious to anyone who has driven through Pasco County that impact fees at 2018 levels at least triple the Hernando County impact fees are not harming the building industry.
We, the resident taxpayers, are now on the hook to make up the county’s revenue shortfall.
It is time for the County Commissioners to do the right thing by no longer subsidizing multi-billion dollar corporations and reinstating impact fees to current market levels. Then, and only then, should they consider any thought of raising taxes on residents.
Anne Kraus-Keenan, Spring Hill
More blueberries, please
Blueberry Festival organizers: I went to the 2018 Blueberry Festival last Saturday (April 28), and basically enjoyed myself, but I was so disappointed that there was only one place to find fresh blueberries, and maybe two places to get any kind of blueberry treats.
One of treats — the pie — according to the vendor, was store-bought.
Yes, there was very expensive blueberry jam and honey available, but not the tasty homemade dessert-type treats you would expect at a festival named for a special fruit.
Nancy Conner, Lakeland