Citrus County raises impact fees
Starting in June, builders will pay 40 percent more for a single-family home.
By CATHERINE E. SHOICHET
Published January 26, 2007
INVERNESS - After nearly eight hours of heated public debate, Citrus County commissioners voted to increase impact fees significantly Thursday.
The hike is not as much as a county consultant had recommended, but the mere idea of raising the impact fees - one-time charges for new construction that are used to help pay infrastructure costs - brought more than 200 people to the commission chamber.
The crowd was so large that officials called in bailiffs to get audience members to move to overflow seating in another room.
Armed with statistics and personal stories, more than 40 builders, real estate agents and others painted a dire economic portrait of Citrus County.
They spoke of layoffs and declining numbers of building permits. Raising impact fees, they said, would prevent small businesses from expanding and stop people from moving to Citrus.
In the end, the plan approved by commissioners means that after June 1, the builder of a 2,000-square-foot single-family home will pay $9,314 in impact fees, 40 percent more than today. Fees for a 10,000-square-foot store will increase 43 percent, to $8,687.
The new fees will send $19.5-million in additional revenue to county coffers this year, according to estimates from county consultant Tindale-Oliver & Associates.
Commissioners unanimously adopted recommended fees for public buildings, parks and recreation, fire, emergency services, law enforcement and libraries.
But when it came to the bigger ticket fee categories, transportation and schools, commissioners were divided.
They voted 3-2 to adopt 50 percent of those fees this year and evaluate them again after a consultant completes an economic study of county revenue sources.
Commission Chairman Dennis Damato and Commissioners Gary Bartell and John Thrumston voted for that approach to increasing fees. Commissioners Vicki Phillips and Joyce Valentino voted against it.
Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352 860-7309.
[Last modified January 26, 2007, 00:59:49]
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