Week Three Question: Impact fees
Each week through the General Election, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. Week three question: What is your position on the existing impact fee structure for commercial and/or residential construction? What, if any, areas should be re-addressed?
Peter Brandt (I)
Impact fee is a term with which I was not familiar until I moved to Florida. I had always lived in either a very rural area or one that was essentially “built out.” I now know that impact fees are an essential part of the goal of “growth pays for growth.” The “impact” of new development should be calculated as accurately as possible. That’s not to say the associated costs or fees should be applied as such. If a net economic benefit can be achieved by abating, delaying or even forgiving some impact fees on new commercial or residential development, it should be seriously considered and very likely implemented. We have already done some of that, and will do more if it proves beneficial.
John Carioscia Sr.
Impact fees are the estimated costs to replace public infrastructure that growth has depleted. With every improved lot, additional public services are impacted such as the need for more equipment for Public Safety Officers, new parks and new roadways, to name a few. I believe that we should have a professional study done, to protect the city legally, to study the benefits of lowering or temporarily suspending the impact fees on new light industrial construction.The success of this idea would benefit the community with more jobs for its residents, while also addressing the imbalance of our property taxes, currently being 92 percent residential vs 8 percent commercial/industrial. I don’t see any need to waive impact fees for new retail or residential construction, due to the number of vacant commercial space and the high number of foreclosed homes in our community. Common sense must prevail.
William Deile (I)
Impact fees are assessed on residential and commercial construction pursuant to the “Florida Impact Fee Act”, and are used to fund infrastructure necessitated by growth (growth paying for growth). Our FY 2012 budget anticipates receiving $3.7M in fees for roads, public safety, parks and utilities. Fees must carefully be established by balancing the tension between the desire to promote growth, especially commercial, the need to offset the stress growth places on infrastructure, and the legal requirement that recent competent studies justify any amount imposed.
I support impact fees as they are an important source of revenue, and if carefully crafted can be used as part of a customized incentive package for economic development to promote jobs and increase our commercial tax base.
Leonard Nesta Jr.
The impact fee structure for commercial construction is always open for decision. The waiver program was good for the city and local business that will help fill empty lots.
I know the new Economic Development Manager and their team will come up with a lot of new ideas for the future.
There are other incentives I know that are out there that we as a city can look at and try to get the city moving forward.
Impact fees are collected to help offset the cost for expansion of the city’s infrastructure. A growth pays for growth concept.
I am not in favor of waiving impact fees as that merely shifts the burden from the developer of the site (commercial and/or residential) and distributes it to all the property owners in the city. I am in favor of continuing (for the near future) the impact fee deferral program that is currently in place.
Of course, any major project that would bring an extraordinary benefit to the city in the way of jobs or other consideration should be judged on its merits when evaluating whether impact fees could or should be waived.
Wm. “Scott” Morris
Our current impact fee structure was implemented during a more prosperous time than we have at the present. Other local governments have recognized the need to reset or adjust impact fees based on the current economic climate rather than old data. Apparently, Lee County will be reducing road impact fees in the near future. The City of Cape Coral should examine the possibility of implementing an ordinance with a sunset provision reducing or eliminating impact fees for a specific set of time based on our city’s current economy.
Impact fees are an important revenue source for infrastructure and have to be structured in an equitable manner. An impact fee is a charge on new development to help fund and pay for the construction or needed expansion of offsite capital improvements. Although there are several areas that rely upon impact fees, new roads and schools have been at the heart of discussions that have occurred since 2007. I believe that impact fees are important, however I strongly support having the existing fee structure of new construction for both commercial and residential analyzed to ensure that the rates are appropriate.
We want to ensure that there is proper funds to pay for our infrastructure, although there are other ways to raise revenue. Impact fees should always be as low as possible to encourage economic development while providing for the basic infrastructure needs of our city. Increased business and economic development will provide additional revenue to the city and reduce our reliance on impact fees. The level of impact fees should be constantly reviewed in order to make sure we are charging the lowest impact fees possible to encourage investment in our city.