Zero impact fees hurt taxpayers
The Hernando Board of County Commissioners gave the builders the gift of zero impact fees for a year at the expense of every taxpayer in the county. For every residence built, that is an additional $4,800 that the builders can either further lower the property values or pocket the money as profit.
Next November the builders will be back asking to keep the rate at zero either because the market hasn't come back sufficiently or any change will choke the recovery. In fact, one builder even had the nerve to suggest that Hernando County taxpayers should pay people to buy a newly constructed home in the county to help the construction industry. So we the taxpayer should fund the industry that helped create this housing crisis in the first place?
In fact, all economic development advice received by the county since 1999 has recommended diversifying industry so the county was not so reliant on construction. But no commissioners listened.
There are several things we need to do as citizens:
Let the commissioners know that the builders are not the only people who vote in the county.
Come next budget cycle, tell the commissioners that we will not tolerate another increase in the ad valorem rate to fund the budget. Get any needed money from Bob the builder and friends.
If you buy a newly constructed home in Hernando demand a price reduction of $4,800 to reflect zero impact fees.
For a commission that is allegedly five Republicans, it is remarkable that they believe in subsidizing a specific industry. It sounds like they are emulating the president's repeated bail out plans that haven't worked.
Anne Kraus-Keenan, Spring Hill
A tragic week in county history
The 47th week of 2011 is destined to be one of the most tragic periods in Hernando County history. On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners stated openly for the record that the only people who count are builders.
On Nov. 1, the commission instructed its Land Services staff to present an ordinance reducing the residential impact fees to 1999 levels and eliminating fees for renovating commercial buildings more than 5 years old.
On Nov. 13, the public notice of the agenda for the Tuesday meeting is published with an item stating, "Ordinance implementing impact fee rate reduction effective through Dec. 1, 2012."
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Ordinance is presented as requested. Commissioner Wayne Dukes objects and wants all fees reduced to $0.
A line of builders state how eliminating fees will revive an industry. One builder even stated "there are two contracts ready to sign based on today's outcome"
Were the contracts based on reducing fees to 1999 levels or did he know they would go to $0? Were the contracts real and signed? Why didn't the commission say "We are going to 1999 levels and you as a builder can absorb the rest?"
Is the vote legal since there was no ordinance presented as advertised?
Just to make sure that the non-builders of Hernando County fully understand the rules of Hazard County the economic development workshop scheduled for Thursday was at the Association of Realtors office.
This board proves once and for all you get what you pay for.
Richard Ross, Brooksville