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Hernando County impact fee cut would benefit home buyers, builders

Impact fee cut good for county

On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners will consider temporarily reducing the impact tax to 2001 levels which would, in effect, cut the tax from $9,300 to around $4,700 for a single-family home. This impact tax was being collected at a time when material costs were at all-time highs. The costs of infrastructure have drastically declined. If approved, it would represent the largest tax cut for real property in county history.

Contrary to popular belief, and what the antigrowth crowd would have you believe, impact taxes are not charged to the builder. They are charged by the county to the homeowner. It is collected by the builder.

Naysayers will argue that this tax cut will just line the builders' pockets and out-of-area contractors will benefit. That is simply not true. Every builder contacted by the Hernando Builders Association has agreed to reduce the sales prices of their homes dollar for dollar with any impact tax reduction, so as to pass on any savings to the homeowner. Also, every builder has agreed to use local subcontractors, material suppliers and laborers.

Reducing the impact tax allows potential home buyers the option of building again. Without this choice, buyers are forced to buy foreclosures and we are just helping to bail out irresponsible banks by liquidating their assets.

Wouldn't you rather help out people who live and work in our own community than some asset manager for a bank that is receiving TARP funds?

If the county's job base were predominantly manufacturing, the association would be calling for a reduction in manufacturing taxes, much in the same way we are calling for this tax reduction for homeowners.

Jeff West, president, Hernando Builders Association

Let's remember the impact fee cut | Nov. 4 letter

Writer concealed Democratic ties

The letter writer claimed special interests and favoritism while addressing the proposal of the impact fee reduction. He even cites the Republican majority of the County Commission and his request to vote them out if they agree to the reduction.

This is not about impact fees. It is an attack on Republicans. One must note the writer is the vice president of the Hernando County Democratic Club and, according to the Supervisor of Elections office as of February, a Democratic Executive Committee member.

A glaring omission, don't you think?

It was the Democratic majority board in 2008 that refused to reduce impact fees 25 percent to have access to $20 million in down payment assistance for first-time home buyers. Talk about missed opportunities.

Roy Martin, Spring Hill

Builders look for impact fee bailout

The real estate, home builders and construction sectors, along with the banking industry, created the present economic crisis. They now want schools and taxpayers to pay for it in the form of reducing or eliminating local impact fees, cutting public spending and laying off workers in both the public and private sectors.

Citizens have to say "no" to the private sector and chamber of commerce, and to demand that the Hernando County commissioners not consider such drastic actions on rolling back impact fees for the residential, industrial and commercial sectors.

Economists argue that a recovery requires ordinary people's spending to go up, not down. But the economic stimulus has not done this, it only has fattened the pockets of Wall Street, select banks and given bonuses to corporate executives. And the proposed actions on local impact fees contributes to this same downward cycle.

Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill

Election chief's skills in doubt

Commissioner Jeff Stabins' suggestions reflect common sense management considerations and solutions that any competent manger should seriously pursue. Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams' reaction raises concerns about her basic management capabilities.

Her 2 percent pay cut, with regards to spending power at her salary level, has a far less impact on spending needs than those of the lesser paid employees, and that is the point. It is 5 percent for all and he/she who makes the most gives up the most!

In the corporate world I came from, senior executives typically took greater percentage reductions than that asked of the general employees. I wonder in the world of management leadership if she understands what it means to "walk the talk."

On the resistance to Commissioner Stabins' suggestion to eliminate overtime pay, another no-brainer for a competent manager: It is called a rotating split shift schedule. Some employees work 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and others work 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is really not that difficult and makes for significant overtime overhead cost reductions.

If she is paying $100,000 annually to have her hardware and software maintained, then she is long overdue to rebid that contract, one that should be no longer than two years in effect and contain incentive terms for cost reductions.

Today, a $101,719 salaried manger holds a master's degree in his or her professional discipline, has diverse business experience and seriously embraces and implements good suggestions to eliminate waste. If not, they do not last long within the ranks of competent mangers.

Donald Ruths, Brooksville

Hernando AVA gambling parlors, raided in other counties, close abruptly | Oct. 31 story

Gambling tied to charitable groups

Here is how gaming rooms work: They are registered with various charitable organizations to which a large percentage of the draw is donated.

When you get a card, you go to a machine, insert your cash and swipe the card. Your winnings, if any, are entered onto that card.

It does not matter which game you choose to play or which machine you choose, the card will pay that amount of winnings. In reality, the card is a scratch off, the same system sold by the state of Florida.

The entire state lottery licensing system should be shut them down.

John Masterson, Spring Hill

Hernando County impact fee cut would benefit home buyers, builders 11/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 7, 2009 11:10am]
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