Thursday, February 25th, 2010 at 9:00am

Impact Fee Committee Takes Charge Questions Lake County BCC

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Impact Fee Committee Takes Charge
Questions Lake County BCC
February 25, 2010

Let’s put the question of waiving the Lake County transportation impact fees into its proper prism before the ideology and motivations of Impact Fee Committee members are examined.  Today, in Lake County, if you build a typical 2,000 square foot home, the transportation impact fees only would be $2,189, while other impact fees on that house would be $10,127, for a total of $12,316.

The story about transportation impact fees is not about residential housing; rather, it’s about their affect on commercial properties and job creation.  Here are some real world costs for transportation impact fees only if you build in Lake County today:

·   Medium Size 12,000 square foot medical office – $80,604

·   Average 15,000 square foot quality restaurant – $130,965

·   Typical 100,000 square foot general light industry facility – $215,700

·   Normal 7,000 square foot bank with a drive thru – $85,449

Just across the border in Georgia and Alabama, as well as many other counties in Florida, the transportation impact fees on these projects would be ZERO!  Anyone in business who has survived the last two years will tell you that saving nickels and dimes is what’s driving business, and for anyone to think outrageous impact fees are not costing Lake County jobs is ridiculous.  Businesses can’t get lending or capital for bare essentials, let alone for outrageous impact fees.

This is all the more reason the comments made during the Impact Fee Committee meeting last week are more bizarre than ever before.  First of all, not only did the five Republican County Commissioners put three Democrat leaders on the Impact Fee Committee, one of them, Nancy Hurlbert, Lake County Democrat Chairperson, has been placed as Chairperson of the Impact Fee Committee.

Attached is a draft of the minutes from last week’s meeting (click to view) – underlined verbiage came directly from the minutes.  However, it appears more bizarre things were said than penned down – we can’t wait for the audio tape.  Lady Lake Democrat leader, Bill Calhoun, appears to have gotten real mad about the Commission approving a school impact fee deferment for the Glen at Cagan Crossing.  Understand, the school impact fees for this project are not waived, they are just deferred until the homes are built.  Calhoun wanted to know why the Commission did not go through the Impact Fee Committee for approval on this matter, and stated that he wanted it on the record that he very much protested the BCC making unilateral decisions such as this.  He was told that the Commissioners had the prerogative to make decisions like this.  Commissioner Jennifer Hill was questioned by Calhoun as if he were in charge – maybe he was.

Later in the meeting, Calhoun expressed an opinion that the talk about jobs has been overblown.  He stated that he didn’t believe the creation of jobs, while important, should be the basis for making decisions which would then affect the condition of the roads in the County.  So, this left wing, Democrat believes potholes are more important than people having jobs.  There’s nothing we can add to make Bill Calhoun look anymore out of touch than his own words.

The League of Cities Representative, Karen LeHeup-Smith, offered her misinformed words of wisdom by saying that the suspension of impact fees in the past in other areas had not led to any increase in business’s and would, alternatively, increase problems we have with the infrastructure in the County.  Please, we beg you, cite an instance for this statement.  This anti-business/growth Mayor of Eustis is supposed to be in the financial industry; yet, she doesn’t understand what thousands of dollars in impact fees will have on businesses deciding where to locate.  However, that’s probably reasonable considering her record on companies leaving Eustis.  You know, Ms. Leup-Smith, people on the other side would at least respect you if you were honest by saying you don’t want growth or jobs; don’t make silly statements which are intellectually dishonest.  The infrastructure you should be concerned about is your own, which is in decay due to your actions.

Nancy Hurlbert, Lake County’s Democrat Chairperson, chimed in with her reasons for not suspending transportation impact fees, claiming a Brookings Institution study (we’ve asked for a copy) says impact fees do not slow job growth and further that impact fees sustain job growth in the economy.  Okay, in order to believe that you probably also believe that Obama has created or saved two million jobs in his first year.  Excuse us while we laugh!

Nancy Hurlbert said she wants the County to incentivize existing business to hire or rehire unemployed individuals and vacant buildings should be utilized before building new ones.  This Democrat Chairperson is holding true to form for her party’s mantra; it takes the government to solve the problems and government should dictate to the private sector how to run its business.  Hey, government is the one that imposed the impact fee and overspent.  Lift government fees and regulations and watch business grow.  Government and people like you are the problem, not the private sector.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners will be holding a public hearing to decide who they’re going to listen to – the Republican voters who elected them to office or the Democrat leaders they put in power.  Who is really in charge of Lake County?  Each Commissioner’s vote on Tuesday, whether or not to suspend transportation impact fees, will determine who they are with.

On a side note, Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. emailed Commissioner Cadwell for the Commissioner(s) who promoted the three Democrat leaders for their positions on the Impact Fee Committee.  Those who know the system understand that these appointments are at the bequest of Commissioners.  It’s time for someone to expose their true colors.  It’s not about Democrats being on a committee; rather, like the majority of the citizens in America, our group is tired of being lied to.  Expose yourself for who you really are!

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