The population of Citrus County is expected to increase by 1,200 residents a year until 2040, putting a strain on schools, roads and other facilities.
School officials need to accumulate money to pay for major planned improvements, including a $13 million school expansion in 10 years and another $53 million in 20 years.
To help pay for that growth, county commissioners Tuesday voted 4-1 to raise impact fees for a single-family home from the current $4,809 to $6,017.
Transportation (roads) and schools traditionally command higher impact fees and this time is no exception.
“We need to have the road capacity and we’ve got to look ahead on that, we really do — same thing with schools,” Commissioner Holly Davis said.
The fee for a single-family home is going up $1,208 and, with a 30-year mortgage, “that is just nothing for somebody who is not in the low-income bracket,” Davis said.
Commission Chairman Scott Carnahan voted against higher impact fees, saying he wanted to keep Citrus competitive with surrounding counties and foresees an unstable economy ahead.
In raising fees, commissioners approved a consultant’s recommendation to adjust fee categories and create new ones.
Here’s a look at the new fees by category for single-family homes, with the former rates in parenthesis:
Transportation: $1,932 ($1,697)
Schools: $2,059 ($1,261)
Parks: $661 ($1,031)
Library: $308 ($235)
Fire: $281 ($350)
EMS: $62 ($41)
Law Enforcement: $416 ($267)
Public Buildings: $298 ($250)
In addition, commissioners approved the following changes to the current impact fee rate structure:
• Added a low-income single-family home category with a fee of $4,676,
• Added an accessory living (or dwelling) unit category with a fee of $2,401. These structures are on the same property as the primary residence. Examples include in-law cottages and guest houses.
Preparing for growth
Impact fees are one-time charges on new construction to help pay for the infrastructure — roads, schools, law enforcement, parks, etc. — that growth necessitates. The new rates will take effect in 90 days. The state requires counties to review impact fees every five years.
While single-family rates are going up $1,208, the fee for multi-family homes will decrease: from $3,644 to $3,322.
The fees for transportation and roads will continue to be calculated at the current 50% formula rate and the remaining six categories at 100%.
Citrus County’s fees are higher than the surrounding counties of Hernando ($4,714), Levy ($1,613), Sumter ($2,997) and Marion ($1,397).
Not all counties in Florida impose impact fees. Some counties have alternate funding sources and tax revenue sources to pay for new development.
For example, Marion County approved a 1% public safety and transportation infrastructure sales tax to help pay for road projects, law enforcement and fire rescue. As opposed to impact fees, the infrastructure sales tax is paid by the entire populace.