Flagler County government today hired a firm to study impact fees, or one-time levies on new development, to pay for roads, parks, libraries, fire rescue and public buildings in what could be a significant addition to county revenue by 2020.
Palm Coast’s park impact fees levied on new construction are about to decline by a few hundred dollars, though the city’s ambitious plans for new parks and recreational facilities over the next few decades are unchanged.
Palm Coast City Council member Jason DeLorenzo on Tuesday questioned the veracity of City Manager Jim Landon’s numbers and his “backroom” style while making the case for a two-year moratorium for impact fees on new construction in the city in a rare, direct and sustained public challenge to the assuming city manager.
Chamber President Doug Baxter had hoped Palm Coast would “fall in line” with a building-tax moratorium of its own if the county and the school board adopted one. The county did. The school board refused to go along Tuesday evening, calling the proposal irresponsible.
The county’s moratorium is relatively small, but Flagler’s chamber of commerce and its home builders association hope to get the school board to approve a moratorium next, then move to Palm Coast, where impact fees add up to $15,270.
Builders and developers want the Flagler school board and Flagler County to cut impact fees–the one-time tax on construction–saying it’ll help the economy grow. But plenty of evidence says it won’t, while Flagler residents still reel from low values and empty houses that more new houses won’t help.
Whether you call them impact fees, taxes or hidden taxes, they’re a Florida and Flagler County reality. An explanation and definition of impact fees with a local rate schedule by city and county.
The one-time impact fees developers pay when they build something would be lower for residential construction. Builders would get discounts for paying up front, or get to pay them on an installment plan.
St. John’s decision to raise impact fees on residential construction contrasts sharply with discussions in Flagler, where developers and some elected officials want a moratorium on fees. Flagler’s fees are considerably lower than St. John’s.
Local governments are challenging a 2009 law they consider an unfunded mandate that shifts the burden of proof from developers to governments in impact fee challenges. In a boon for developers, lawmakers are rewriting the law to make it challenge-proof.