Three years after Citrus County commissioners placed impact fees on hiatus, all eight fee categories are now back in force.
Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to reinstate impact fees for law enforcement, parks, EMS and public buildings.
The board a year ago brought back fees for roads, schools, libraries and fire.
Commissioner Jeff Kinnard, who two months ago opposed reinstating law enforcement fees, changed his mind after speaking with Sheriff Mike Prendergast about the capital costs associated with hiring additional school resource officers.
Commissioners Scott Carnahan and Jimmie T. Smith opposed reinstating the fees, saying there are no plans in place to spend money in any of the categories.
Kinnard said the board placed a moratorium on impact fees to stimulate the economy and it worked.
“I think it is sufficiently stimulated,” Kinnard said.
He said the county could use park impact fees to provide more parking for boat ramps. With the county considering the addition of advanced life support to the fire department, it can use EMS impact fees to pay for it.
Carnahan said he didn’t think the current economic surge, led by the building industry, will last.
“We’re probably sitting on a bubble,” he said.
Smith said the public wants government run as a business.
“When has a business said, ‘Give me money and I’ll figure out what to do with it?’” he said. “Have a plan, have a plan, have a plan.”
Representatives of the Citrus County Builders Alliance asked commissioners to leave the moratorium in place because it was set to expire in April 2019 anyway.
Commissioners Brian Coleman and Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. said they didn’t think reinstating four impact fees would slow growth.
“It’s the cost of doing business,” Coleman said.
Kitchen added: “I don’t think a thousand dollars will keep people from moving here.”
Board backs hiring arborist for Floral City trees
Commissioners agreed to spend up to $10,000 to study the condition of trees along Floral City’s famed “Avenue of Oaks.”
Carnahan said the county and community need to know what should be done to continue preserving trees along Orange Avenue.
“We need to keep these trees intact as close we can,” Carnahan said.
Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Josh Wooten threw his support behind the request.
“This is a very special highway,” he said. “The community down there has such pride in what they’re doing.”
Carnahan suggested the county conduct the study every three years.
County seeks ways to help local bidders
Commissioners asked County Attorney Denise Dymond Lyn to research whether the county could devise a process that could lead to more local businesses receiving county bids.
Kinnard said Polk County allows the two low bidders to rebid if the second-lowest is local and within 5 percent of the low bid.
He said the county should do what it can to select local companies for bids.
“That’s money staying locally here,” Kinnard said, “and that’s spent locally here.”
Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or email@example.com.