Comparison of impact fees

The blue bars show how high impact fees are currently (2019) for a single family home in different counties and communities. The lines show how high Charlotte County’s fee would go depending on what 10 percent increment the commissioners decide to use. Impact fees are assessed for new construction to help offset the cost of increasing development

Charlotte County commissioners must decide on Tuesday whether to raise construction impact fees and, if so, how much.

Seeking public input and opinion, the board is holding a public hearing at 10 a.m. in the county’s administrative hearing room, 18500 Murdock Circle.

Impact fees are allowed by state law to help counties and cities pay for the capital projects that come with new development, such as roads, parks and emergency services. Impact fees are charged for construction of many structures from restaurants to hotels to office buildings to private schools to hospitals. The main structure under discussion is a detached, single-family home, for which the fee is currently $3,803 in Charlotte County. By contrast, the cost in Lee County is $12,915.66.

Charlotte County is the lowest of the coastal counties in Southwest Florida. Some commissioners have said this has promoted growth in the county. Others say it has required the county to increase property taxes and rely more heavily on sales taxes and gas taxes.

Commissioner Christopher Constance has said he wants rates to be moved to the maximum allowed as soon as possible, in hopes of capturing up to $1.8 million when the upcoming Sunseeker resort starts building. Sunseeker is expected to submit building permits soon, and fees cannot increase until 90 days after a vote.

The board will consider the effect of each 10 percent increments in terms of how much it will cost the builder and how much money it will generate for the county.

Budget Director Gordon Burger has said each 10 percent increase will generate about $1 million a year for these capital projects. Raising fees to the maximum would raise about $6.2 million annually,he said. Fees for a single family home would be $8,704 at the full rate.

Currently, fees are at 40 percent of maximum. Earlier commissioners dropped the fees during the recession. An increase to 50 percent would raise the fees for a single-family home to $4,353.

The fees allocate different amounts for different aspects of public service, including libraries, police and fire, parks and transportation. One option under consideration is to increase the fees applied to transportation to 100 percent, while leaving the others at 40 percent. That would raise the cost of a single-family home fee to $7,509.

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