If Jimmie T. Smith wants to attract new businesses that will undoubtedly put extra demands on our infrastructures, then the smart thing to do is to invest in our community first by making it more attractive for businesses to want to come to Citrus County. No businesses will want to come here if our infrastructures are collapsing. Reinstating impact fees is an economical way to insure the impact of growth and development is paid for as it happens. It’s fair and it’s equitable because someone has to pay for new growth. Many of us have already paid our share and, we don’t want to pay again for someone else – and that’s exactly what Jimmie’s shortsightedness proposes.
Government should not wait until it becomes a necessity to address issues. Look at the state of road maintenance for example. We are at a point where it will take approximately $380-$400 million dollars to fix – and no meaningful solution in sight. If we listen to Jimmie, the impact of all new construction will be transferred to the taxpayers – essentially hurting the same middle class that he claims to be supporting.
Jimmie wants you to believe that impact fees deters businesses and kills jobs. Government has the power to lower impact fees, to give a business an incentive if and when, a big jobs-generating company decided to come to Citrus. Soon Jimmie will associate reinstating impact fees with teen pregnancies, or with global warming, or better still, with a lack of drone parks and teen concerts.
According to Jimmie, someone borrowing $100,000 to purchase a home at a 3% interest rate will also borrow the impact fee amount, which could be anywhere from $1,600-$4,600 depending on the price of the home. He believes this added cost will shatter the American dream of owning a home. The monthly mortgage payment attributable to this would increase the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment, including principal and interest, anywhere from $7.00-$19.00 a month; interest only $4-$11.50 per month. Banks typically analyze the long term financial stability of the borrower to determined how much a borrower can pay. Seven dollars or even nineteen dollars extra a month will most likely not be a deal breaker. The American dream of owning a home would still be attainable.
He also stated: “As someone who has tried to fight governmental spending, I can attest that it never stops growing.” The truth of the matter is that Jimmie voted consistently for the highest state budgets in Florida’s history. Based on his voting record, he is a supporter of growing government instead, especially when it benefits special interest.
“We need to oppose increased government now for when we are not the ones making the fiscal policy in the future, because unneeded spending can return at any time.” No Jimmie, your job is to address today’s issues – today! To plan for tomorrow instead of waiting until calamity strikes. You job is not to kick the can down the road that could double or triple the cost to taxpayers at a later date.
The most irresponsible comments that Jimmie made in his recent article were: “The impact fees that get paid, may not even benefit you. So say a homeowner in Sugarmill Woods, who has a house built, will likely not see any gains from impact fees. Also, a senior citizen who chooses to move here and living on a limited budget in areas like the Inverness Highlands are not going to see a positive impact, just more cost.”
Most people have never needed the services of Fire Rescue, or CCSO, or travelled all the roads in the county, visited the courthouse, or a library, park or, attended local schools and yet we pay a gas tax, school tax and ad valorem taxes that get apportioned to cover these costs. These are services that taxpayers pay for even if not used.
I’m amazed at the irresponsibility of this comment, especially after being a state representative. The 2006 Florida’s Impact Fee Enabling Act legislation (FIFEA), Fla. Stat., §163.31801, requires that the “needs” and “benefits” of the impact fee, referred to as the “dual rational nexus test, which I wrote about before, must exist between the regulatory fee or exaction and, the activity that is being regulated.”
We already have areas in Citrus County where a house could burn to the ground because we do not have strategically positioned fire stations, equipment and firefighting personnel to respond on a timely basis. We already have schools that are overcrowded, where children are being removed from their comfort zones and sent to other neighborhood schools. We already have a school complex that desperately needs an emergency exit route for safety reason. These are real important issues that can be solved by reinstating impact fees.
Growth and development has expanded in several high impact fee counties such as Flagler and the Palm coast. We are not at this point yet, but our county government needs to be responsible and reinstate impact fees before everything falls apart.
Impact fees spur growth and increases home values adjacent to new developments. This means more revenue and less taxes. Better maintained roads increase the marketability of neighborhoods and counties. This will attract new businesses and jobs.
Author - Edna Mattos
Edna is from New York City and moved to Citrus County in 2003. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies and was the Founder of the Citrus County Tea Party