Impact fees could be paid over time
Residential development does not pay its own way, though impact fees on new home construction do play a part. If impact fees are waived or reduced, folks already living in Hernando County will have to pay for the roads, schools and services required to support the new residents, which is unfair.
There may be some truth to the claim that the fees are deterring home buyers during this difficult economic period and that some sort of relief is justified. But instead of waiving or reducing the fees to get sales moving, as proposed by builders and Realtors, new home buyers should be allowed to pay the fees over time and with interest.
This would reduce closing costs and ensure home buyers ultimately pay their fair share of the costs associated with their impact on the rest of us. The fees could be paid over 10 years. Financing the impact fees should generate nearly the same economic stimulus as waiving or reducing the fees.
George Foster, Bayport
More homes are not needed
There is now a vast oversupply of homes that will take time to be absorbed into a depressed marketplace. Why the county would want to make it easier to build more unneeded homes is suspect. Lowering the impact fees then discounts the homes of every homeowner in Hernando County in an already difficult real estate market.
There have been too many giveaways that already burden the taxpayer. The county needs to cogently remind builders that it is not the impact fees that are the problem. It is the vast oversupply of homes they have already built.
Jim Engelage, Brooksville
Why not fix existing homes?
With all the vacant homes in the county and the new houses that are being rented as affordable housing in new subdivisions, how can you agree to reduce the impact fees to promote more houses?
Why not promote renovation or rebuilding of existing homes? This would certainly help put some of the contractors back to work. Why couldn't the banks and builders get together to promote this to assist in reducing the number of foreclosures?
I urge the commissioners to vote against this reduction of impact fees!
Martha LeMaster, Weeki Wachee
Home building begins at home
I have yet to read that the builders in Hernando County are businesses fully owned by county residents, or that these builders could only hire Hernando residents, only purchase materials and services from Hernando businesses owned by Hernando residents and employ only Hernando residents.
Proposals being addressed are supposed to help stimulate business for the home builders' businesses, but what good does that do if the jobs, materials and professional services purchased are not going 100 percent to residents of Hernando County who need the jobs, sales and professional services?
Why don't these builders change their focus and remodel, renovate and repair existing homes, as previously suggested? That will give jobs without costing taxpayers. Many Realtors have had to change their focus from selling homes to individuals and investors to marketing their services to foreclosure companies and banks. Let the builders change their focus!
The county commissioners really need to think this through. Work and profit — for whom? The builders, not the residents. How would this help Hernando County residents and taxpayers?
Pat Mundy, Spring Hill
Lottery process bad for magnets
Hernando County's two magnet schools, Challenger K-8 and Chocachatti Elementary, have consistently earned "A" grades from the state, all the while using the portfolio/audition criteria as part of their admissions process. Last year, 70 percent of seats in Hernando County's magnet schools were filled by the portfolio/audition process. Now, the Hernando County School Board wants to do away with the portfolio/audition and switch to a lottery-based system of admission for kindergarten classes, which is how the majority of students enter Challenger and Chocachatti.
How can a School Board member who has Hernando County's best interests at heart even consider this? While we're at it, let's change the admissions policy for all of the state universities as well! Begone admissions based on achievement. Good riddance to a selection process based on school performance. It's so much easier just blindly picking a number out of a hat! No more evaluating teachers based on merit either, let's just have a computer randomly assign evaluations to them.
A magnet school — by definition — uses a specialized curriculum to attract top students. It is not intended to fill its seats through a lottery. Magnet schools are intended to attract high-caliber students from throughout the area. Relying solely on a lottery system contradicts the primary purpose of magnet schools: to attract students who are gifted or talented in certain areas. If magnet schools are to fulfill their mission, the merit-based portfolio/audition process must be continued, or even increased.
What is needed is portfolio/evaluation criteria that is wholly objective, blind (in that students' names are not revealed to the evaluators) and measures the students' work, not that of the parents.
Call or e-mail the School Board members and ask them to reverse their decision regarding the portfolio/audition process and attend the Oct. 20 board meeting to voice your concerns.
Joseph Ward, Brooksville
Smokers ruined concert for others | Oct. 14 letter
Outdoor concert was just fine
Oct. 10 was a great night for Spring Hill. Finally, we had a place to go outdoors and enjoy some fine music. The bands were excellent.
We all know how hot it was that night, but to say it was ruined by smokers is untrue. I am an ex-smoker and it does bother me to smell it. There was very little smoking going on where I sat and I had a great time.
By the way, people who were smoking were doing nothing wrong. I saw no one leave the show until it was over. Next time, stay home and watch Wheel of Fortune.
Daniel Devico, Spring Hill