Dear editor,

A recent newspaper article noted the need for 10,676 new homes in the county by the end of 2024, which represents 5 years and 9 months from now. The school system was also noted as in need of new schools as well and are going to ask for a $5,000 impact fee. It was also noted that the home builder’s group was against the impact fee idea and, in fact, it would be “the straw that broke the camel’s back."

I find that hard to accept. (Sounds like a self-serving argument.) A recent study noted the average impact fee in Florida was $5,000, but, for here, one could consider a lower one. What they are saying for example, is that on a $203,000 dollar house, increasing the price by a nominal $3,000 impact fee to $206,000 dollars would kill the deal. Or for the lower income consideration it is hard to believe that the increase of $3,000 dollars from $123,000 to $126,000, as an example,  would also cause the party to go to another county as suggested.  The recent article on the 700-new-home subdivision indicated they were high-end homes, undoubtedly more than $200,000 homes. I doubt that a $3,000 impact fee would even be noticed.

I support the half-cent sales tax but not without an impact fee. Ten thousand homes at a nominal $3,000 impact fee would bring in $30 million dollars over the period of that growth time table. Certainly it isn’t enough, and a sales tax is needed, but for our leaders to let $30 million dollars pass us by is unconscionable. The attitude of, “our way or no highway” as expressed by one of our leaders, is unprofessional. 

We need the sales tax, and combined with an impact fee it would be an easier sell. Without the impact fee it is “no sale for me" and I suspect many others as well.

RAY SLINGERLAND

Milton

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