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Who’s afraid of impact fees?

July 7, 2018

Probably County Council members who think it will piss off their developer friends.

 

Volusia County is headed to a crisis. And it’s caused by indecision. It has been building for years. Just like the county morgue fiasco was known three years ago and no action was taken.

 

This time it’s infrastructure needed to support new developments.

 

Turns out the ‘impact fees’, an additional charge each builder pays for the impact of new residents on roads, police and fire support, and schools, haven’t been raised for 15 years! During that time the Federal Highway Administration says road material costs have gone up 75%!

 

But impact fees haven’t kept current.

 

Why? Because Volusia County Council hasn’t raised them! (Hmmm, I wonder why?)

 

So Volusia County needs money. County Council considered making every resident pay with a sales tax increase.  That means we would all be paying higher sales taxes for 20 years based on the current talk. What???

 

But that effort failed when the Council realized voters are fed up paying more taxes to cover poor budget management. They knew it probably wouldn’t pass a vote of the people. So they voted to delay that idea,  without solving the budget problem. (Now there’s concern it would cost an additional $800,000 to hold a special election to vote on a sales tax increase!! That’s about 267 average homeowners forfeiting their entire year’s property taxes for this inability to make a decision)

 

How simple is part of this answer? Well, it all depends on whether you are supported by the developers, I guess.

You see, in just a simple community like the planned 6900 unit community of Margaritaville in Ormond Beach, County Council could raise the impact fee by $10,000 per unit and the monthly payment of buyers would change by less than $60 a month.

 

Would you refuse to buy a home in an area of good roads, schools, and policing for $60?  I wouldn’t either.

 

And some simple math shows that would produce $69,000,000 of revenue. That’s a lot of money! And for a single development- there are thousands of houses being built in Volusia!

 

When are we going to get some decision making instead of kicking the can down the road. We need fresh blood in the Volusia County Council. People who listen to the public, are willing to take action as a representative of the people, and aren’t sold off to special interests, like developers. 

 

My position:  It’s time to break up the party and start representing the people again.  Let’s end Volusia County's oligarchy of corrupt corporate cronyism that guarantees ‘politics as usual’ for the benefit of the chosen few while the rest of us pay yearly tax increases, rising fees, and less liberty.  It's not a question of party, it's about our quality of life.

 

 

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