Builders should pay impact fees or not be allowed to build or sell | May 22 letter
Know the facts before you write
Free speech is a right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution, however, it would behoove the writer to do some research prior to exercising that right.
Residential and/or commercial builders do not pay the impact fees when they undertake a project. It is not their responsibility now, nor has it ever been the responsibility of the builder to pay the impact fee. Builders merely collect these fees from the owner on behalf of Hernando County. It is the county that determines the fee and these fees are used by the county to offset the impact the new structure will have on roads, sewers, water and other factors.
The builder does not keep the fee, it is not used to build your house, nor is it profit for the builder and your down payment went toward the purchase of your home, not to the payment of impact fees. The assessment of impact fees is a decision made by your County Commission. Not all counties have such fees.
Builders don't want the fees, not because they can't afford them, but because they know the fees will add several thousand dollars to the cost of the project. Furthermore, the county requires these fees to be paid in full up front, creating an additional outlay from the homeowner or business owner. It is for that reason that the suggestion was made to allow these fees to be paid over an extended period of time, like the mortgage on your house. Incidentally, your mortgage payment for escrow may go up because of a tax increase or rise in your homeowner's insurance, but it's not because your builder didn't pay the impact fee. To suggest that your builder was using your impact fee money for personal use is clearly indicative of your lack of information and understanding.
Builders don't like impact fees any more than the property owners who are responsible for paying them, but they are a fact of life right now in Hernando County. If you have an issue with them, take it up with your county commissioners, they're the ones who imposed them on us and they're the ones who refuse to eliminate or reduce them. Yell at them.
Bobbe Allen, Brooksville
Property owners pay impact fees
Time after time, when a story is printed about the building industry, the article always says "impact fees are the fees paid by builders and developers for infrastructure." The truth is and always has been that the owner of the house pays the impact fees.
When the house that the letter writer talks about putting the 10 percent down on was built, she can bet that the impact fees were calculated into the price. Simply put, builders are nothing more than unpaid fee collectors for the counties and municipalities that require impact fees.
If anyone who owns a piece of property in Hernando County wants to build a house, even if they are the owner builder, they have to pay impact fees. It's not just professional builders or developers.
As far as putting the impact fee on the tax bill, the owner would save thousands of dollars over the cost of rolling it into the total price of the mortgage.
It would be nice if the papers finally printed the red meat about impact fees, not just the sizzle.
Jeff West, Hernando Builders Association, Brooksville
Builders don't pay impact fees
The fact of the matter is that impact fees are imposed by the county government on any individual who wants to build a house, business or hut on a piece of property in Hernando County. They are attached to the property and are not a cost of doing business for a builder but a tax on the property and building being built.
The builders have been put in the position where they have to collect the fee from the property owner to pay the fees to the county government for the impact of the structure being built on the property owner's land. This fee must be paid prior to the permit being issued or no work can commence. Therefore many builders have had to pay this fee up-front for the customer so they can begin building. The builder is turned into an unpaid tax collector for the county because work can not commence without the fees being paid up-front.
Some builders will make the property owner pay them before they pull the permit so it doesn't get added into their cost of building the house or the mortgage. Such was my case several years ago with my home. It wasn't almost $10,000 back then either, but I had to go to the courthouse myself and pay them personally before my builder would start the permit process.
Some people don't have the extra $10,000 up front to pay the fees themselves so they end up being rolled into the cost of the house that goes into the mortgage and by the end of the 30 years you have paid $30,000 for a $10,000 impact fee. By doing this it also shows as a higher priced house so the builders' liability insurance is now rated on an extra $10,000 that he has no responsibility for in the first place.
Putting the fee on the tax roll for the property owner to pay over time rather than rolled into the mortgage makes more sense. The fee stays with that property. If you decide to buy more land and build again then you have the impact fees all over again for the new property and building.
All the while that builders have been fighting to lower your impact fees it's not to put money in their pocket, because they don't see one red cent of this money. It's to save the customer money in the total price of the new home. And since when has it been a crime to make a profit in business? That's what people open a business for in the first place.
Brenda Lee McDaniel, Brooksville
Jessica Lynch's message touching
Dan DeWitt's column about Jessica Lynch made me proud of her all over again. It was so wonderful that she cut through all the lies and hype about her with the simple truth. Now she is raising her daughter, studying at a university, getting on with her life and remembers her comrades in arms.
Her Memorial Day message was touching and very appropriate.
Doris Taylor, Brooksville