Transportation impact fees cannot be used to resurface or improve roads but can only be used to widen them or increase capacity.
That’s what is needed in Citrus County as it experiences growth pains and the expected clogging of local roads, according to county commissioners.
Commissioners broached the subject during last week’s strategic planning retreat.
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They proposed one option: increase transportation impact fees from the current 50 percent to 100 percent.
Because impact fees are borne by new residents, existing Citrus Countians don’t have to pay them, County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said.
An impact fee is a one-time fee on new development usually collected at the time of building permit issuance.
“We are experiencing growth right now and there’s more coming,” Kinnard said. “We are going to have to have greater capacity on our county roads and the new residents should pay for that.”
Kinnard added: “Right now we need to continue building roads or expanding roads but even if the state were to grant us money we don’t have the money to match it so we can’t take what they would offer.”
It may require another impact fee study and that raises a legal question. A recent law said impact fees, once set by local government, cannot be increased until a time certain unless there is an “extraordinary and compelling reason” to do so.
“I think we can make the case that the coronavirus pushed people out of metro areas and states to rural or suburban areas such as Citrus County,” Kinnard said. “That has created a much faster population growth than projected.”
Kinnard said if a new impact fee study is needed, he would ask the Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to pay for it.
Michael D. Bates is a staff writer with the Citrus County Chronicle and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.