What do higher road impact fees mean?
Supporters of an increase in road impact fees have taken aim at The Villages Developer — if commissioners raise the tax to the maximum allowed by law, it would add $1,458 to the cost of a new home in The Villages. However, the steepest penalty will be paid by builders of non-age-restricted homes, which will cost $3,998 more. And the cost skyrockets most for businesses looking to expand in the county. For example, UF Health officials have said the action may jeopardize a new hospital here.
Won’t an increase in road impact fees fund a property tax rollback?
In 2019, the previous commission raised $50.95 million in the first property tax increase in 14 years. They cut $8.402 million in capital projects and increased spending as follows: • $14.805 million to the general fund • $1.142 million to debt services • $42.517 million to road projects, including repaving the major county thoroughfares of Morse and Buena Vista boulevards • $884,491 for county payroll Newly elected commissioners Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search have promised to roll back that property tax increase by collecting more in road impact fees from new development. However, monies from road impact fees cannot be put into the general fund to be drawn on to reduce taxes. They can only be used for roads and not expenditures such as law enforcement, ambulances, government salaries, libraries, parks and animal services.
Didn’t a study push for the maximum?
This misstatement has been widely circulated in proponents’ misinformation campaigns. The consulting firm Tindale Oliver made no such recommendation in its 2019 report, which is publicly available at https://rb.gy/duypqy.
Who is for and against the tax increase?
Anti-growth homeowners in The Villages are spurring on Estep, Miller and Search, who have yet to produce expert opinion supporting their position. The three are at odds with state Republican leaders who are pushing a pro-business bill to curb impact fees. Economists and small business owners have been some of the loudest critics, along with Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group. Real estate agents worried that the action will exacerbate the shortage of housing and slow job growth for working families include the National Association of Home Builders, Florida Home Builders Association, National Association of Realtors, Florida Realtors and the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties.
The stakes are high for one of America’s top destinations
For decades, the boom of new businesses and amenities in Sumter County has established it as one of the most popular places for Americans to relocate. It is the sixth-fastest-growing of the nation’s 3,142 counties — at a time that 54% of counties across the country have been losing population.
More growth, More tax Cuts
The Villages metropolitan statistical area has been the nation’s fastest growing for the past decade, allowing homeowners to see a property tax increase only once in the past 15 years. Last year, the property tax rate was rolled back 4%, a trend the county’s economic development staff says will continue as long as growth continues.
Less Growth, Less Market Value
Total residential and commercial market value in Sumter County during the past 10 years grew by 110% to $20 billion. Only three other Florida counties came close to that percentage growth, which economists warn would be jeopardized by a tax increase against new development.