By LISA MACNEIL
During a recent county commission board meeting, Mitten described the board’s sentiment to raising road impact fees as “A great reticence, especially coming out of COVID, where people are trying to get back on their feet.” He continued, “ We’re trying to start businesses, not prevent them. There’s a great reticence to raise any form of tax, fee, assessment or other charge. What we need more data on or time to look at is how much we will actually be assisting in the furtherance of business and economic development by adopting the new calculations if we were to continue with the 22%.”
The impact fee rates for roads were last reviewed by the Board in 2013. The county defines the road impact fee as a one time capital charge to new development and covers the cost of new capital facility capacity. Road impact fees are charged on a number of land use categories such as residential, commercial, industrial, medical, office and institutional.
Florida law requires that the calculation of impact fee rates be based on the most recent and localized data. Hence, local ordinances for the individual fees recommend that the rates be reviewed every 5 years.
Pianta instructed the board that the reason for the presentation was to understand the methodology behind the study and accept it. The presentation and subsequent adoption of the recommendations keeps the county compliant with state statutes.
Impact fees must comply with the “dual rational nexus” test, which requires that they: 1) Be supported by a study demonstrating that the fees are proportionate in amount to the need created by new development paying the fee; and 2) Be spent in a manner that directs a proportionate benefit to new development, typically accomplished through establishment of benefit districts and a list of capacity-adding projects included in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan, Capital Improvement Element, or another planning document/Master Plan.
Pianta also stressed the importance of discussing outcomes of the study rather than the amounts of the fees.
Nilgun Kamp of Tindale Oliver explained the methodology and next steps of the study to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at the June 23, 2020 regular meeting.
Impact fees are one-time capital charges to new development. Governed by Florida Statute 163.31801 fees are set by most recent and localized data, and any action that challenges the correctness of the fee, the burden of proof is on the government.
Kamp described a consumption-based methodology used by many Florida Jurisdictions, which charges new growth based on it’s consumption of transportation capacity.
These capacities are usually calculated using Level of Service (LOS) standards. Simplified, this assumes that half of the roadways are in great condition, with the other half in need of repair.
The presentation goes on to illustrate how the road impact fee level will impact the number of priority projects that can be funded. Keeping the impact fee at 22%, the county in theory could fund the first six of 14 priority projects at a cost just below $26.5 million.