Volusia County Discusses Impact Fees & How The Fees Impact Residents

By on February 6, 2018 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – At its Tuesday meeting, the Volusia County Council discussed the use of impact fees and how an increase in the fees would affect residents and developers in Volusia County.

Impact fees are used to pay for capital improvements needed to address impacts from new residential and non-residential development. In Volusia County, the fees go toward parks, schools, fire rescue, and thoroughfare roadways.

The County commissioned a study in 2007 to see whether or not to raise impact fees, but soon afterward, the economy turned sour. The County ended up suspending some transportation impact fees beginning in 2011. Those fees were fully reinstated in 2015, according to County records.

County records show that Volusia has collected more than $14.7 million in road impact fees since the fiscal year 2012-2013. More than $13.4 million of those fees, along with gas taxes, have gone toward paying a $65 million bond debt for the expansion of the County’s thoroughfare road network. That debt is expected to be paid off in 2024.

On Tuesday, the Council discussed what the effects would be if there were an increase in impact fees. There was no formal vote on the matter.

Council member Joyce Cusack said she would want a clearer picture and analysis from a third-party before making a decision on whether or not to raise the fees. “Developers have one idea, and we as government, we set policy. We may not have the same idea,” said Cusack. “It would be good for us as policymakers to have analysis as to where we are and where we need to go as a county.”

Some Council members said they were concerned about how a hike in impact fees could drive up the cost of buying a home.

“My biggest concern with any talk on impact fees is the impact on our families who are trying to buy a house. A lot of people think it’s the contractor that’s picking up the costs, but they’re passing it on to the homeowner,” said Council member Pat Patterson.

Council Chair Ed Kelley said he has seen examples where a combination of impact fees and proportionate share costs, paid by the developer, has caused the price of a single-family home to go up nearly an additional $30,000. “That’s impossible, and I don’t really think it’s that fair to expect someone to pay that kind of money,” said Kelley.

Council member Fred Lowry said the impact fees should stay the way they are for now. “It’s nice to have the information. I think that’s good enough for me. I think letting a sleeping dog lie in this case might be the best situation,” Lowry explained.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.

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