Re: Impact fees
Weigh all factors on impact fees
Having read the opinion of both local papers and letters to the editors regarding the recent discussion of reducing impact fees, I feel compelled to provide some edification to this issue.
Hernando County commissioners were asked to have a hearing so that all the information regarding the reduction of impact fees could be brought to light. They have granted that request. This does not mean impact fees will be changed. It simply means our county will look at all of the facts and make a decision. If the facts make it clear that an impact fee reduction would be in the best interest of the residents of Hernando County, then they should be reduced. If the facts make it clear that it would be so detrimental to residents so as to cause a hardship that cannot be borne, then don't reduce them. However, provide some alternatives that would bring relief to our local economy. Commissioner Dave Russell called for out-of-the-box thinking, and this program is out of the box. The very worst that can happen is the commissioners feel it is not working and stop the program and bring impact fees back to the current levels.
I would like to thank the commissioners for not raising impact fees this year, as well as the School Board. When an economy is largely based on the construction industry, like it or not, anything that adversely impacts the industry affects the community.
The wording for the $20-million that is being made available is clear. For down payment assistance in the purchase of newly built or existing home for first-time home buyers.
What this means is we, as a county, have the ability to get some of the foreclosed and vacant homes off the market.
This impact fee reduction will not create a rush for new building permits. It may provide title companies, Realtors, mortgage companies, banks, home improvement stores and, yes, construction companies, with more work than they have now. It also could provide the county with some additional tax revenue.
If a vacant lot sits, depending on the size, it's worth about $600 yearly in taxes. Put a house on it, and now, depending on the size, the same lot with a house pays $2,000 yearly. Forever. Not a bad deal and just one of the reasons people should not be in a hurry to criticize Russell for bringing it up, and the rest of the commissioners for voting for the hearing.
Businesses are laying off employees in Hernando County, just as the county has had to lay off employees. Laying off an employee is not an easy thing to do. It is difficult, at best. If this program can help one employee keep his or her job, county employee or private employee, then it is worth trying.
Dudley Hampton Jr., president, Hernando Builders Association
Re: Offshore oil drilling
Offshore drilling is worth the risk
In reality, we should encourage the Legislatures, both federal and state, to do something about reducing and/or eliminating our dependence on foreign oil.
As Americans, our blood is spread throughout the world so that we can continue enjoying the freedoms given to us by the Constitution.
The people who lived through the Great Depression and who made huge sacrifices during both World War I and World War II are diminishing daily. We need to listen to what they have to say about those times. More importantly, we need to make "Made in the USA'' mean something again.
The current economic conditions affect everyone at the gas pump, at the grocery and with the services we expect from governments. But we must rise up and fight for our daily survival.
Perhaps we are years away from benefiting from the oil off our coasts. However, look at how quickly I-75 was repaired and reopened after the fire in Manatee County. Why not take that same approach to drilling for oil off our coasts?
Everything we do has risks. However, with the technological advancements, we certainly can minimize the risk to ourselves, shores and beaches.
If we do not do something now, it may be too late. We will say we should have done something in 2008 to help ourselves.
There are more than 300-million opinions in our country. Let us rally together behind the flag and do something for ourselves for a change to ensure our democracy continues to survive and flourish without foreign oil and perhaps foreign interference in our daily lives.
John F. Thompson, Bayonet Point
As layoffs loom, why hire kids?
I would like to know, with all the articles in the paper lately concerning the county's plans to lay off employees, combine departments, etc., why are they hiring kids for the summer?
I'm curious as to how they can justify this with all the budget cuts they claim need to be made.
S. Krassnoski, Brooksville