Tax rate jumps 14 percent | Sept. 27 story
The Hernando County Commission is a spend, subsidize, blame, tax and spend-some-more commission.
Commissioners are more than willing to increase the property tax rate by 14 percent for existing residents, create a new flat tax for garbage, and increase water and sewer fees due to growth, but are unwilling to increase the impact fees designed to cover the cost of growth. They are leaving millions on the table that would reduce the need for property tax increases.
The county’s budget contains $84.9 million of capital projects for utilities, public works, solid waste and recycling, planning, transit and fire rescue. One has to ask how much of those projects are due to growth and would have been covered by impact fees instead of taxing existing residents.
The school board is asking to raise impact fees to pay for building the necessary schools for growth caused by the building boom. County commissioners are hesitating because they want to continue to subsidize their builder donors and realtor wives, relatives and buddies. The no-impact-fee commissioners claim that bringing impact fees up to 2019 levels would stifle growth, yet neighboring Pasco County continues to boom with impact fees more than double what Hernando charges.
If the commission doesn’t approve the increase in impact fees, the costs will fall on us, the taxpayers. They don’t care because they will continue to pass the buck. The school tax would be raised by the school board and not by them. The commissioners would then say: “Don’t blame us it’s the school board.” Yet they will be fully to blame. Remember that in 2020.
Anne Kraus-Keenan, Spring Hill