Re: Impact fees
Impact fee cut would hurt area
If the objective of reducing the impact fees is to make it easier for first-time home buyers to get one step closer to realizing the American dream by enabling builders to offer new homes at a lower price, then I can't see how anyone could object.
On the other hand, if the objective is to put more home builders and their crews to work building more homes in developments we don't need, then we have a problem.
Unemployment is high in Hernando County. (Did we need an expert from out of town to tell us that? Duh!) A good many of the un- or underemployed are carpenters, plumbers, roofers, painters, electricians and any one of a number of skilled trades. Since our economy seems to depend on the constant beat of hammers, the whine of saws and the rumble of concrete trucks, the current silence is truly disquieting. We like our quiet neighborhoods and we cringe when a new parade of trucks starts down our streets, but an old rancher once said, "You smell manure, I smell my business."
But just putting people to work building houses when there are 5,000 of them for sale? I must be missing something.
If reduced impact fees mean that builders can offer new houses at lower prices than the new and unsold houses on the market, won't those "older" new houses still be unsold?
If reduced impact fees mean that builders can offer new houses at lower prices than the existing houses on the market, won't those also still stay on the market—maybe still vacant and in foreclosure?
If impact fees are intended to fund essentials like streets, schools, police and fire protection, parks, libraries, and the other amenities people move here to get, and we reduce them, where is the funding coming from?
Lowering impact fees will surely result in fewer funds for the very things we have to offer people to join our community. Putting people to work is commendable, but building houses just for the sake of building houses sounds like the WPA of the Depression era or building the Aswan Dam in Egypt, using thousands of people with wicker baskets of sand instead of bulldozers just to provide work for the unemployed.
We can do better than that. The only ones who would benefit from lowering the impact fees are the builders and developers. They're not evil or greedy, but they surely do know a good thing when they see it.
Rowden has the right idea on fee
After reading your paper for almost five years, I feel compelled to provide you with my opinion regarding Hernando County and its politics.
It appears that Commissioner Diane Rowden actually voted the way she promised when running for office. She actively is supporting retention of the impact fee rate.
Let's face it, there are literally thousands of used housing units on the market, some of them virtually new and many of them abandoned by folks who received loans that they were unable to afford. But the builders, of course, want to build more and more homes so they can also sit empty.
The lower the impact fee, the more houses will be built. We also have forgotten unscrupulous builders like Coral Bay. Lots of people lost a lot of money.
Is there anyone in Brooksville who can figure out how to entice more real businesses to move to Hernando County? That is what we need. There are a lot of unemployed, yet qualified, folks around here who would love to be able to go to work in some industry rather than just construction. More jobs, not more houses.
Let's hope the rest of the commissioners jump on the bandwagon with Ms. Rowden.
Helen Schneble, Spring Hill